Arson suspected at asylum center near German border

Asylum center on Amstelstraat in Winterswijk cordoned off after possible arson, 17 May 2019
Asylum center on Amstelstraat in Winterswijk cordoned off after possible arson, 17 May 2019. (Photo: Willem Saris/Twitter)

Police in Winterswijk are investigating evidence suggesting arson may have caused a fire at a residential center for asylum seekers. Several people living at the Amstelstraat facility were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.

No victims were hospitalized.

Firefighters rescued several people after the “medium-sized fire” was reported early at about 3:30 a.m. on Thursday, police said. The blaze swept through the first floor of the housing complex, but was quickly brought under control by firefighters.

A forensic investigation turned up trace evidence supporting the arson theory. Police will continue the investigation as a criminal act.

Authorities have asked anyone with knowledge of the incident, or with access to security camera footage, to contact them.

The Amstelstraat is a small street in the Gelderland town lying less than ten kilometers from the German border. The facility has room for some 400 asylum seekers, and is run with the help of 40 volunteers, the Dutch COA noted on its website.

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