Sisha lounge fire triggers evacuation of Rotterdam apartment tower

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

A large fire in Lebanese restaurant and sisha lounge Comptoir resulted in the evacuation of apartment tower 100Hoog in Rotterdam on Tuesday night. Local residents told AD that they heard a few loud bangs, a car speeding away, and a "conversation that looked like an argument". The police mentioned an explosion, but could not confirm any of the residents' stories.

The restaurant is located in the apartment building on Wijhnhaven. Flames could be seen pouring out of the business. Smoke spread through large parts of the city, and surrounding residents were warned to stay indoors and out of the smoke. 

Paramedics examined a number of people at the scene. One person was taken to hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation, the Rotterdam fire department said on Twitter. Another three people went to a doctor themselves. 

Firefighters managed to get the fire under control around 1:45 a.m., according to ANP. Most residents of 100Hoog were allowed to return to their homes early on Wednesday morning. The people living in eight of the apartments couldn't return and had to spend the night elsewhere. "I heard a huge bang", one resident said to AD. "It sounded bizarrely loud. Everyone was panicking. The worst fright is now over, but I'm still worried about the condition of my home."

The 100Hoog building is over a hundred meters tall. The part of the building where the fire raged has around five floors, a fire department spokesperson said to the newspaper. The residential tower is also part of the building, but was not affected by the fire, according to the fire department. 

The cause of the fire is still unclear.