Fire breaks out at Bösendorfer piano factory, destroying an entire building
22 September 2023, 12:34 | Updated: 22 September 2023, 15:00
A major fire has destroyed one of Bösendorfer’s piano factory buildings in Austria overnight, with almost 100 firefighters on the scene.
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An outbuilding at one of the world’s oldest piano manufacturers burned down on Tuesday night, destroying much of the company’s business archives.
According to a news report from ORF, Austria’s national public broadcasting service, 15 fire engines were deployed to the scene and nearly 100 firefighters helped to tackle and control the spread of the blaze.
The fire broke out at around 10.30pm, and emergency services were alerted by local residents at the same time as the piano company’s automatic fire alarm system.
“When the first forces arrived, the outbuilding was already fully engulfed in flames,” operations manager and fire brigade commander Christian Pfeiffer told ORF. “Since this is an archive, the fire progressed quickly due to the huge amounts of paper.”
The blaze took two and a half hours to extinguish, during which a part of the outbuilding’s roof collapsed.
Firefighters were able to control the spread of the flames, and the neighbouring piano factory floor remained unaffected so that production was able to continue the following morning.
Police launched an investigation into the cause of the fire on Wednesday morning, and found it had been started by a defective electrical device on a desk.
Police spokesman Stefan Loidl said that the damage caused by the fire was likely to be in excess of €300,000.
Founded in 1828, Bösendorfer became the official piano maker for the Emperor of Austria in 1830 and attracted high praise from the likes of Franz Liszt, who supposedly said that pianos made by Bösendorfer or Bechstein were the only ones that could withstand his thunderous performances.
The current Bösendorfer piano factory in Wiener Neustadt, just south of Vienna, was opened in 1973 and is responsible for the manufacturing of all Bösendorfer instruments, where master craftspeople produce almost 300 pianos by hand each year.