Illegal cigarette factory found in burned down building

Fire hose (Photo: Vitaliy Ragulin / Wikimedia Commons)Fire hose (Photo: Vitaliy Ragulin / Wikimedia Commons)

A building that burned down in Bergen op Zoom on Monday night contained an illegal cigarette factory. Tens of thousands of packets of cigarettes were found between the rubble of the burned building on Tuesday morning, Omroep Brabant reports.

The fire started in what was believed to be an empty building on an industrial terrain on Vierlinghweg on Monday night. It caused a massive cloud of smoke that spread over large parts of Bergen op Zoom and was even visible outside Noord-Brabant. 

Witnesses reported seeing 10 to 15 people running from the building after the fire started. "Something smells about this case, because nobody reported to us after the fire", a spokesperson for the police said to Omroep Brabant on Monday night. "According to our information, this is formally a vacant building."

The thousands of packets of cigarettes were found on Tuesday morning. Parts of machines were also discovered. The police and the Tax Authority's investigative department FIOD are investigating. 

Firefighters managed to prevent the fire spreading to other buildings and had it under control around 10:30 p.m. As the rubble is still smoldering, the police are not yet able to enter the building. So far no arrests were made.