Saturday, the 23rd of February, 2019
The fire broke out last Saturday, the 23rd of February, at 8:13 am, in the kitchen of the Altitude 2000 Plan Praz restaurant, in Chamonix.
As the name suggests, this restaurant is situated at 2000 m above sea level altitude, at the arrival of the Brévent gondola, in Chamonix.
The culprit of the fire was the pizza oven, which was left unintentionally open all night; At 7 am, the fire slowly began.
When the owner of the restaurant and his son started opening the restaurant as usual at around 8 am, they discovered the fire.
Helped by three employees of the Compagnie du Mont-Blanc, they managed to stop the fire by using the internal resources of the restaurant.
Because the members of the Compagnie du Mont-Blanc were occupied trying to extinguish the fire and could not guarantee the safety of the skiers at the same time, the Brévent gondola had been closed until 10 am.
Approximately one hour later, at 10:39 am, Chamonix firefighters arrived on site and continued the intervention, although the fire had already been extinguished.
The intervention of the firefighters was finished at noon. At 5 pm, the firefighters returned. "We stayed until noon, then a team came back in the late afternoon to check that the fire does not resume under the effect of heat," said Lt Stoeffel, head of the team.
Three people heavily intoxicated by the fire
The people who successfully managed to put down the fire - the owner, his son and the three employees of the Compagnie du Mont-Blanc - were intoxicated by the fire.
Three of them - the owner, his son, and one member of the CMB - were heavily affected by the fire and required immediate medical care.
As of Saturday night, the three of them were still under oxygen at Sallanches Hospital.
In total, 56 firemen from all over the Arve Valley were mobilized for this intervention.
The firefighters stress the importance of fire prevention in buildings, especially in those which are difficult to access.
There is a high likelihood that the restaurant would have been ravaged, had it not been for nearby water reserves and fixed means of control.
The restaurant had not been affected, although the kitchen is heavily impacted.
The restaurant hopes to open very soon to offer snacks for its customers. The kitchen part, however, will not be open for another few weeks as it requires complex repairing work.
The Gendarmerie started an investigation to discover the exact circumstances of the fire.