A blast in a cheese cellar of the Slow Food Raw Milk Vacherin Fribourgeois Presidium kills one worker and injures several more...
Last Friday was set to be a day of festivities in the small mountain village of Charmey, situated in the heart of the Swiss region of Gruyère in the Fribourg Canton. However, as the community prepared to inaugurate the new cheese cellar "Caves d'Alpage de la Tzintre", which had just welcomed its first rounds of Vacherin Fribourgeois, one of 22 Swiss Slow Food Presidia projects, tragedy struck.
To the shock of the village, an explosion on the eve of the celebrations caused the building to catch fire while workers were still busy with the final preparations. Four workers were seriously injured and one died.
The fire, which according to the newspaper Le Matin was caused by a
gas leak, was quickly put out by the fire brigade. It is too early to understand the extent of the damage, but the president of the Fribourg Cooperative of Alpine Cheese Producers André Remy commented to La Gruyère newspaper that it is undoubtedly significant.
In the coming days the producers will discover how extensive the damage is to the 5,000 rounds of cheese that were being aged in the cellar, but as Remy says, "the material consequences are nothing in the face of loss of human life".
The Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity expresses its deepest condolences to the community and affected families.