Plaque to remember the victims of the Turnhout gas explosion

A plaque that will serve as a permanent tribute to the victims of the gas explosion in Turnhout (Antwerp Province) on New Year’s Eve will be erected near to the site of the explosion. On 31 December 2021 4 people were killed and two others injured in the explosion that was caused by a badly installed gas fire. The blast destroyed several floors of a block of flats. 

The housing association that owns and manages the flats where the explosion took place De Ark announced that a plaque will be erected during a resident’s meeting attended by residents of the afflicted flats and others that had been affected by the explosion. All those that were made homeless because of the explosion have since been found alternative accommodation or are in the process of being rehoused. 

Flowers and candles still lye outside the block of flats on the Boerenkrijglaan. Kassandra Driezen of the De Ark housing association told VRT Radio 2 that “We are handling these with a great deal of care, and we want to ensure that a plaque is erected near to the site that will serve as a permanent reminder and be somewhere that people will be able to go to if they feel the need to do so”.

The entire block of flats where the explosion took place has been declared uninhabitable and it will be demolished at the end of February.

Mr Driezen added that “All the residents have either been found alternative accommodation already or are in the process of being rehoused”.

"They are still very concerned about their belongings, and we share their concerns”. We now have clarity regarding the stability of the building. This means that we know which rooms we will be able to reached, and which belongings will be able to be recovered”.

Meanwhile, a security company is guarding the site to prevent looting.

The residents were also given information about the progress of the insurance claim for the possession that lost in the blast.

"The contents are covered by the residents’ insurance. Victim Support can offer them support, also to residents that aren’t insured”.

Some residents are concerned about using gas again.

"In a few weeks’ time we will organise an information session. There experts will tell the residents what they can do and what they need to be careful about”.  

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