The Mayor of Beringen Thomas Vints (Christian democrat) told VRT News “What at first appeared to be a normal fire that we would be able to extinguish became a flashover in which the fire was rekindled. The cause is still unknown. An investigation is ongoing”.
Sunday morning’s fire is reported to have been the third to have broken out in the building that is known locally as being used by squatters. The previous fire was last October when a squatter set a matrass ablaze. Since then the building had been sealed off and its widows boarded up. The fire started at around 2am and there was a lot of smoke.
In a press statement the South-West Limburg Fire Service says that “Unfortunately not all our colleagues were able to reach safety in time. As a result of the heat and the pressure wave park of the building, including the roof collapsed.
Two young fire-fighters killed
The two dead firemen with both young men with children. Three other fire-fighters were injured. Three of those injured were treated for smoke inhalation at a hospital in Heusden-Zolder. The fourth injured fireman suffered more serious injuries and is now been treated at Leuven’s Gasthuisberg Hospital. All the victims are stationed at Heusden-Zolder Fire Station.
The Mayor of Heusden-Zolder Mario Borremans (GOED) said at a press conference that the two firemen that had perished in the blaze were both “young fathers”. Mr Borremans asked the media to respect the privacy of the dead and injured fire-fighters’ colleagues and families.
The Judicial Authorities have launched an investigation into the cause of the blaze.