Massive explosion leaves Veendam apartment building on edge of collapse

Apartment building on cnr Julianalaan and Prins Bernardlaan in Veenendaal severly damaged by explosion, 19 Apr 2017
Apartment building on cnr Julianalaan and Prins Bernardlaan in Veenendaal severly damaged by explosion, 19 Apr 2017. Photo: @doozybumblebee / Twitter

A huge explosion in an apartment building in Veendam on Wednesday morning left the building on the edge of collapse, the Groningen fire department said on Twitter. The apartment building is located on the corner of Julianalaan and Prins Bernhardlaan. Emergency services are at the scene.

The fire department scaled the situation up to Grip 2, which is used in incidents that have a definite effect on the surrounding area. A single command is established and the mayor of the municipality was informed. 

The explosion was first called in around 6:49 a.m., breaking up a relatively quiet evening for emergency services in the Groningen region. The situation was elevated to Grip 1 at 6:57 a.m., and then to Grip 2 at 7:15 a.m. 

First responding crews immediately asked for specialized equipment such as braces, hoists, struts and inflatable bags capable of moving heavy rubble to help prevent a building collapse. The Groningen fire department called in specialist firefighting teams from other provinces and engineers for advice on how to proceed safely. 

The cause of the explosion unclear as yet.

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