15 hospitalized after roof collapse, building uninhabitable

Nijmegen fire 2
Emergency services respond to the scene of a senior center roof collapse in Nijmegen, Feb 20, 2015. (photo: @ikbencor / Twitter)Emergency services respond to the scene of a senior center roof collapse in Nijmegen, Feb 20, 2015. (photo: @ikbencor / Twitter)

Fifty people were injured in the fire that broke out in a cafeteria underneath a seniors complex on Otto C. Huismanstraat in Nijmegen this morning. Fifteen victims have been hospitalized, some of them with serious injuries, Het Parool reports. The building has been declared entirely uninhabitable, according to the Safety Region Gelderland-Zuid.

The Geneeskudige Dienst put up a tent opposite the burning building. There they treated 35 people for respiratory problems caused by inhaling smoke. Dierenambulance employees treated pets that were removed from the 50 vacated apartments.

The apartments in the building have a lot of smoke and soot damage. The fire department is examining the homes today. A large part of the mostly elderly residents will not be able to return home for some time. Most of them are still dressed in pajamas and nightgowns. It is not yet clear whether they will be allowed to return to their homes to retrieve clothing and other belongings.

40 of the evacuees are being accommodated in the community center De Schalmei, where they are receiving care. Nijmegen Mayor Hubert Bruls visited the community center to talk to the evacuated residents.

The fire started around 06:00 this morning in the snack bar Ugala, which is completely burnt out. 120 firefighters were at the scene, trying to extinguish the fire and helping residents to safety. The fire spread through the back of the building and through the roof, part of which collapsed. The firefighters managed to get the fire under control around 09:00 a.m., but expect that extinguishing it will take the rest of the day. The cause of the fire is still unknown.


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