Kleinhadern: Residents feel left alone after fire – Munich

It stinks. Not to heaven, but throughout Konrad-Dreher-Strasse, a residential area on the border between the Munich districts of Laim and Hadern. There was a fire there on Saturday night in a house that was built just two years ago. There are 16 apartments there, in which around 40 people lived, city workers and employees with their families. Now they are on the street.

“I feel sick just coming near the house,” says one woman, fighting back tears. “We got a few things out of the apartment today, my daughter just cried.” Mayor Verena Dietl (SPD) stands nearby and listens. And the entire management team of “Münchner Wohnen” is also there, especially the management, Doris Zoller and Christian Müller.

The trigger for the meeting at the residential complex was an email that went to the email addresses of Dietl, Müller and Mayor Dieter Reiter (SPD) on Tuesday at 7:36 p.m. – and then also to the SZ on Wednesday morning. “Residents of Konrad-Dreher-Straße 14” are named as the sender of the email. The landlord of the house is the new municipal housing company Münchner Wohnen, which emerged from the merger of GWG and Gewofag at the beginning of 2024.

The email states that after a major fire in the basement of the apartment building in Kleinhadern, several tenants were “homeless”, “including numerous families with small children”. The residents criticize that they have not been offered “any support whatsoever” from Münchner Wohnen or the city. It is also unclear when they will be able to return to the house, and they also do not know the condition of their belongings in the apartments.

“All residents are in shock, many children have become ill,” the email says. At the end several questions are formulated: “Why does the GWG (which is now called Münchner Wohnen, editor’s note) “No crisis intervention team was involved to offer tenants psychosocial help and advice?” And: “How can it be that no one offers support after such an acute emergency?”

Apparently something went wrong in internal communication

On Wednesday morning, the SZ asked the city and Münchner Wohnen about the issue. It quickly becomes apparent that hectic activity has broken out in various places. Normally, top executives like the mayor and the managing directors of Münchner Wohnen have busy schedules. The fact that such a high-level meeting was arranged within a few hours on this day speaks for the explosive nature of the issue.

Apparently something went wrong in internal communication. All residents were accommodated, according to management’s knowledge on Monday. Which was true – and also not true. The residents, some of whom had fled the flames and smoke during the night without shoes, warm clothing or papers, had only temporary accommodation, as is still possible at night, with friends and relatives. Two even returned to the smelly, sooty house where nothing works anymore: no electricity, no water, no sewage pumps. According to Münchner Wohnen, an aid organization was with the tenants on Saturday.

A man says that his family is scattered all over the world: the woman with her small daughters is with her in-laws in Slovakia, he is with a colleague, the older, school-age daughter is with a friend near her school. That’s how it is for many people here. They have many questions and they want answers.

Dietl, Zoller and Müller brought the first answers. The house is not in danger of collapsing, but is uninhabitable. And will remain so for a long time. An expert who was there at lunchtime is said to have spoken of six months. On Thursday, residents will be informed about the results of the damage assessment at an information event. It is still unclear what caused the fire. Not even arson can apparently be ruled out at the moment.

Verena Dietl says: “I immediately scheduled an appointment on site and arranged for those affected to receive every possible help that could be provided by Münchner Wohnen or the state capital as quickly and unbureaucratically as possible.” This means that every family that has a “need” will first be accommodated in a hotel, on Wednesday or Thursday at the latest. They all have a need here. And once it is clear how long the renovation of the house will take, the search for temporary housing or a permanent new home for the people begins.

The residents sit together for a long time with the city delegation in the retirement and service center just around the corner. Quick solutions should be found, cell phones are running hot. Sentences of despair can be heard again and again. “I haven’t been able to sleep since the fire,” says one woman. “It’s all just coming up now. On Friday, we just wanted to get out, get out.”

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