38-year-old man arrested for fire Leeuwarden

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A 38-year-old man was arrested in connection with the major fire in Leeuwarden this past Saturday, announced the Prosecution on a press conference in Leeuwarden Thursday afternoon.The fire was presumably caused by a flame from a gas stove in a clothing store, which spread to the clothing. Five shops and eleven apartments were destroyed in the fire.

The man, who is an employee of the clothing store, was reportedly busy with the gas stove, when the fire started. He is being questioned by the police.

A Dutch Firetruck in action on the heathland near Ede
P.J.L Laurens/Wikimedia Commons

The suspect may be sued for accidental arson, as a result of carelessness, and may face a maximum prison sentence of two years. The man is not detained.

The suspect has not confessed yet, but admits recognizing himself in the police report.

There was also a gas cylinder next to the gas stove in the store. Police stressed the criminal investigation of both the police and the Public Prosecution Service have not been completed, partly for security reasons.

A 24-year-old man was killed in the fire. The victim was found in an enclosed courtyard. He was not burned, but died from suffocation.

The victim could not escape through the front door because of the heavy smoke, according to a spokesperson for the fire department.

During the rescue attempt it proved impossible to get to the victim, states the fire chief. Despite far-reaching risks that took the firemen within an arm's length away from the victim, it proved impossible to safe him due to the intense smoke, which was very frustrating for the firefighters.

The affected residents and neighbors were devastated by reports of the possible involvement of the 38-year-old man. Yet they are relieved there is finally clarity. There were many wild stories going around, according to one of the residents.