A significant blaze razed one of Austria’s historic Bösendorfer piano factory buildings during the night, resulting in the destruction of a substantial portion of the company’s invaluable business records. The incident occurred on the evening of September 19, 2023, and drew the response of around 100 firefighters dispatched to extinguish the inferno.
The conflagration, first detected around 10:30 p.m., prompted the automatic fire alarm system within the facility to activate, and local residents promptly reported the emergency. By the time the initial responders arrived, the annex building was already engulfed in flames, with the blaze rapidly intensifying due to the abundance of combustible paper materials within the archive.
Firefighters, aided by 15 fire engines, battled the blaze for approximately two and a half hours, during which a portion of the annex’s roof collapsed. Thankfully, the adjacent piano factory floor remained unscathed, allowing production to resume the following morning.
A subsequent investigation by the police determined that the fire had been triggered by a malfunctioning electrical appliance on a desk. Preliminary assessments suggest that the damage caused by the fire is likely to exceed €300,000.
Established in 1828, Bösendorfer boasts a storied history as one of the world’s oldest piano manufacturers, having been designated as the official piano maker for the Emperor of Austria in 1830. Over the years, the company garnered acclaim from renowned musicians like Franz Liszt, who hailed Bösendorfer pianos as the sole instruments capable of withstanding his thunderous performances. The present Bösendorfer piano factory, situated in Wiener Neustadt, just south of Vienna, commenced operations in 1973 and is responsible for handcrafting nearly 300 pianos annually, exemplifying the craftsmanship and tradition that define this venerable brand.
Picture: Wiener Neustadt Fire Department