The employee magazine
of the Volkswagen brand


Marshlands in Flames: 
Help Put Out the Fire

Major fire in Emsland: Employees from Lower Saxony's Volkswagen deployed to fight fire.

A large fire in the Emsland region: Several dozen employees from Volkswagen locations in Lower Saxony were deployed to a fire at an armed forces training facility near Meppen. As volunteer firefighters or emergency workers, they supported the German Armed Forces in putting out a fire that spread out of control in early September after a weapons test.
27 members of the Gifhorn fire department alone work day jobs at the plant in Wolfsburg. 12 employees from Emden were also on site 
as the Emden fire department responded to the call as well. The fire has now been extinguished.

“Naturally, we excuse emergency workers when they are needed. When we received the request, we simply made sure the employees were excused from work or had their work hours adjusted as needed,” says Ralf Thomas, Head of Volkswagen pro Ehrenamt, an initiative to promote volunteerism.

The emergency workers were housed in this tent city.

“The alarm sounded Tuesday 
morning at 12:30 am,” recalls firefighter Oliver Schmitz (47) 
of Gifhorn, who works in the 
body shop at the Wolfsburg plant. A little while later, he and his fellow firefighters were heading toward Meppen in the fire department’s Unimog 4x4. Their mission was to supply the firefighters on the front line with water. Each of the five cross-country vehicles holds 2,000 liters. “We slept in a tent city,” says Schmitz, describing the exceptional situation in the Emsland region. All of them returned to Wolfsburg unscathed. The large-scale deployment left a lasting impression on them. “It really gets you worked up,” says Schmitz.