Wurstfest organizers: ‘We will rebuild’ after fire destroys ‘Marktplatz’
NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas - Wurstfest has been a New Braunfels tradition for the last six decades.
New Braunfels resident Johnny Acosta went twice this year.
“It’s just a celebration of our German heritage here in New Braunfels and the history of it. Beer, food, just fun. Gets pretty busy,” Acosta said.
Just days after this year's festival wrapped up, disaster struck on Thursday night.
New Braunfels Incident Public Information Officer David Ferguson says a fire was reported in a booth at the Marktplatz — basically a food court.
“The fire had spread into the roof and attic structure directly overhead but was quickly extinguished,” Ferguson said.
Ferguson says Friday morning firefighters once again responded to what was likely a flare-up.
“They began attacking that fire by cutting open the roof of the Marktplatz structure, it’s a metal roof,” Ferguson said.
Fire crews from nearby towns came in to help.
“The worst of the damage is to the Marktplatz area. And that is at this point kind of considered a total loss. The Wurst Hall though is structurally intact at this point,” Ferguson said.
“That’s pretty horrible, I mean we’ve had a lot of fun times there over the years,” Acosta said.
Kelly Kistner, Chief of Security and Safety for Wurstfest, says it was a rough night for everyone.
“There was a lot of communication, a lot of prayers and we were just hoping for the best,” Kistner said.
Roads were closed and so was the Comal River due to runoff from the fire and the foam used to fight it.
“We do not know yet what caused this fire,” Kistner said.
Ferguson says the investigation into what started this is just beginning.
“[It] will include the City of New Braunfels Fire Marshal’s office, the State Fire Marshal’s and the ATF, mostly due to the extent of the damage but also because of the historic nature of the property,” Ferguson said.
But can Wurstfest bounce back?
“Wurstfest and New Braunfels are resilient. We rebuilt after a flood, we will rebuild after this,” Kistner said.
“I’m here at this park almost every day and I see the same people in the community and we’re attached to the grounds of Wurstfest and I see a lot of the same faces there so I think the community is definitely helping keep that together,” Acosta said.
“We will be ready to host the 60th Wurstfest on November 6th, 2020 during the 175th celebration of the founding of New Braunfels,” Kistner said.
The City of New Braunfels says firefighters may be here for the rest of the day or even the next couple of days keeping an eye on the situation. Thankfully no one was hurt in this whole ordeal.