Victims of fatal fire lived in shed for 3 years without municipality's knowledge

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

A young family who fell victim to a fire in a shed in Etten-Leur on Monday morning, lived in the garden shed for three years. A 32-year-old woman was killed in the fire. Her 30-year-old husband and their 2-year-old son were injured. The family was registered at the main house on Nieuwe Kerkstraat and the municipality did not know they were living in a garden shed, AD reports.

The garden shed stood in the garden of the man's uncle's home. Local residents told AD that the family only slept in the shed. During they day they were usually in the main house. The woman helped with the housework in the main house and cared for the uncle. 

The family was registered as living in the main house, a spokesperson for the Etten-Leur municipality said to the newspaper. "The municipality had no reason to assume they were sleeping in an outbuilding", she said. She could not immediately answer whether this was allowed and whether the municipality would have intervened had they known.

Neighbors Frans and Marion discovered the fire at around 4:30 a.m. on Monday morning, they told AD. Marion called emergency services while Frans climbed over the fence to help. The man living in the shed broke a window and handed the toddler to Frans. He turned around to help his wife, but couldn't get through the flames. Frans helped him out of the shed and immediately put him in a shower, because he sustained severe burns. The boy sustained some small wounds when he was handed through the broken window. Both were taken to hospital. The man is being kept in an induced coma due to his burns, the police said, according to the newspaper.

First responders pulled the woman out of the shed and tried to resuscitate her, but it was to no avail, a police spokesperson said to AD. She did not survive the fire. 

The cause of the fire is not yet clear, the spokesperson said.