A day of excitement and entertainment was ruined for the crowds of fans who came from all around Czech for the annual “Grand Pardubice” Horserace. The long running tradition of the cross-country steeplechase, which can date back as far as the late 1800s, was cut short after a fire erupted from a gas heater. Only an hour after the main race fans evacuated on the chilly Sunday as firefighters arrived to tackle the fire, ending the events’ celebrations early.
The fire, which broke out from one of the gas heaters on the main grandstand, was said to be caused by issues with the propane container. Despite damages being estimated at around 4500 kc, the firefighters’ spokesman mentioned that the harm would have been a lot worse, possibly in the tens of millions range, had the firefighters not arrived with good timing and handled the situation quickly. Fortunately there were no injuries due to the luck of the fire erupting when no one was in the close vicinity of the gas heater.
Source: HZS Pardubického kraje
The estimated 30 000 visitors who had come to support their favourite horse were disappointed to leave the celebrations, especially those who has bet on Nikas, the winning racehorse. Dressed in elegant hats and classic style, many were quickly envious of the few who had opted for beanies on this chilly late Autumn day. But those who foresaw the cold and windy day came well prepared with hot rum, vodka and gingerbread to keep them buzzing.
The incident comes a rude reminder of the dangers of gas heaters, which often start fires or even explode, needing constant maintenance and regulation to ensure they’re safe. If you’re worried about your gas heater then there are some precautions you can take, however there is nothing 100% reliable, especially for older heaters.