Resident missing after Drenthe distillery fire

Firefighters' gear
Firefighters gearWikimedia Commons

The male resident of a farm in Exloo, Drenthe is missing after a massive fire at his property on Wednesday night. The property, which included the Turv Exloo Distillery, a barn and a farmhouse, went up in flames and burnt to the ground. Emergency services will search the remains of the buildings to find out whether the man was killed in the fire, ANP reports.

Emergency services managed to make contact with the man's wife. She is staying with relatives elsewhere in the country and could give no clarity on his whereabouts. 

Two of the buildings on the property were national monuments. The fire department spoke of a "pretty devastating fire", with flames being seen meters above the buildings. 

The police can't rule out that arson was involved. Local residents told RTV Drenthe that the buildings caught fire at about the same time. The police can only start investigating on Friday. "That has to do with the heat and hazardous materials that are still present", a spokesperson said to ANP.

According to local media, there's been tensions between the owners of the Turv Exloo Distillery and local residents for some time. The property was recently vandalized - the words 'Ik vertrek' [I'm leaving] were painted on the fence. Turv Exloo Distillery belongs to entrepreneur Mathieu Smakman, who got some fame from appearing on television show Ik vertrek. The company existed for only two years and is listed for sale for 3 million euros, according to ANP.