Hilversum firefighters put in danger by energy company mistake

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

Liander seriously endangered a number of firefighters during a fire in a transformer house along the rails in Hilversum on Saturday, according to mayor Pieter Broertjes. The energy supplier stated that the power was shut down remotely, but when the fire brigade started extinguishing the fire, the building was still under high voltage, the mayor wrote in a letter to the Hilversum city council, NOS reports.

"During the deployment, the burning cabinet blew apart", Broertjes wrote. "The firefighters were just able to leave the premises in time, without injury. That had a major impact on the units, because it could have led to serious injuries."

The fire started on Saturday when a ProRail subcontractor was working on the transformer house. Log files show that the first fire brigade unit arrived at around 9:10 a.m. and asked the control room to tell Liander to turn off the high and medium voltage in the building. Liander informed the control room that this had been done remotely, and firefighters started extinguishing the fire. 

But the building was still under high voltage. The electricity to the building was only really disconnected at around 1:00 p.m. At 1:30 p.m. the fire department had the fire under control.

The fire brigade reported the incident to the Inspectorate for Social Affairs and Employment. ProRail is also investigating the incident. A spokesperson for Liander told NH Nieuws that it is standard procedure to conduct an extensive investigation after such an incident, and that the company will give no further reaction until that investigation is complete.