On 31 January 2014 fire engulfed a house used as student digs on the Kapucijnenvoer in Leuven. A 22-year-old Irish student caused the fire with a cigarette. The student had fallen asleep in an armchair in his room after a night’s partying. He couldn’t remember starting the fire.
Two other Irish students that shared a room on the second floor of the house died in the blaze. Eight other residents were able to escape.
All three accused, the student that caused the fire, the owner of the house and the Leuven Institute for Ireland were fined and given suspended prison sentences.
The Judge ruled that too few measures were taken to ensure fire safety in the student residence.
The barrister representing the victims’ families Gert Warson told VRT News that “A number of fire extinguishers were empty”.