Busy morning for Reykjavík emergency services

A succession of emergency call-outs this morning left Reykjavík emergency services stretched — although some of the alerts turned out to be false alarms.

“There were two ammonia leaks and all the ambulances were out at the same time,” the on-duty fire brigade shift manager told Vísir.is a short time ago — adding that the emergency services have been in exceptionally high demand this morning. In fact, he says, it is lucky things did not go any worse.

Two separate ammonia leaks were reported and fire crews attended both. One was on Fiskislóð in the old harbourside industrial area of Reykjavík, but that turned out to be a faulty gauge on a pipe instead of an actual leak. The second was at an office building on Ármúli, where a refrigeration unit had malfunctioned and spilled dangerous ammonia. Fire fighters were quickly able to stop the leak.

At the same time around the city there were a rash of traffic accidents and ambulance crews had to transport at least four injured drivers to hospital after a single crash on Nýbýlavegur. In one instance a car crashed into the back of a stationary police car, which was itself at the scene of an accident. The on-duty shift manager told reporters that at one point 11 ambulances were out at the same time.

“So the system was stretched to the limit when we received notification of a house fire on Þórsgata,” the shift manager said. Neighbours to the house had seen flames rising over the roof of the apartment building in question and all available fire engines were scrambled to the scene, preparing themselves for the worst.

Fire fighters were therefore relieved to discover that the flames were being made by contractors at work and that there was no immediate danger to people or property.

(Photos for illustration only – not directly linked to story)