Fire kills two children, injures two; Police: No crime

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

Two boys, aged 6 and 9, were killed in a house fire in Strijbeek, Noord-Brabant, during the early hours of Sunday morning. Two adults were injured. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but the police found no indication of a crime or negligence, a police spokesperson said to RTL Nieuws.

The two young victims and a third child were staying with the grandmother of one of the victims in her wooden house on Daesdonckseweg. The other child who died was a friend who lived in the vicinity of Strijbeek, according to NOS. The third child and the grandmother managed to get out of the burning house by themselves. 

According to the police, the wooden house burned down almost completely. Firefighters could not enter the house immediately, due to the sea of flames. Police officers searched the area with police dogs in the hope that the kids managed to get out, but their bodies were later found on the first floor of the home, where they were sleeping when the fire broke out. 

The grandmother was injured in the fire, as well as the father of one of the victims. He and the boy's mother were sleeping in a neighboring chalet. The adults were hurt when they tried to enter the burning house to save the children. The grandmother and father were taken to hospital. The family is from Rotterdam. The families of everyone involved are receiving victim assistance.

"The cause of the fire is being investigated. That will take some time", a police spokesperson said to RTL Nieuws. The fact that the house was made of wood, makes the investigation extra complicated, according to the spokesperson.

"A disaster and a shock for the village", a local resident said to Omroep Brabant after the fire. According to the resident, the home involved is a summer house, but the municipality allowed the grandmother to live there full-time. The resident looked through his window at around 00:15 a.m. and saw smoke coming out of the woods. "I immediately thought: something is very wrong."

The grandmother is well known in the neighborhood, another local said to the broadcaster. "She often came to get strawberries and eggs from me", he said. "The children and grandchildren of the woman visited regularly."

The police called it a major drama. "It's a small community in Strijbeek, many people know each other. And two schools will have an empty seat in the classroom", a spokesperson said to the broadcaster.

Mayor Joerie Minses of Alphen-Chaam, which covers Strijbeek, is "deeply shocked" by the disaster. "My thoughts are with the family and friends of the victims."