Bookmakers set on fire in Antwerp

An arson attack on a bookmakers in the Pothoekstraat was among a number incidents in Antwerp during New Year’s Eve. The window of the bookmakers was smashed before the arsonists through a firework into the shop setting it ablaze. Later things got out of hand around the Veldstraat and Lakborslei in the Deurne district of the city. 

There a number of windows were smashed including the window of a solicitor’s offices. The police attended the scene in numbers and calm returned to the area. One police officers was slightly injured.

The Fire Service attended 47 incidents during the night. An Antwerp Fire Service spokeswoman told VRT Radio 2 Antwerp “We had an extremely busy night. We were called out 45 times, including 25 times to put out fires. At one stage there were 7 fires burning at the same time”.

There were numerous reports of rubbish bins that had been set alight. However, by far the more serious incident the Fire Service attended was a fire on the balcony of a flat in the Merksem district of the city.  

"A firework landed on the balcony of a building on the Groenendaallaan, causing a fire.  

Elsewhere, fire-fighter extinguish two scooters that had been set on fire on the Maarschalk Montgomeryplein in Borgerhout. Vandals destroyed the shelter at a tram stop on the Sint-Bernardsesteenweg.

Earlier in the evening a man was taken to hospital after he was stabbed.  The official firework display at the Scheldt Quays passed without incident. Tens of thousands of people turned up to watch the display.