Raging car fires cause 12 injuries in Hague apartment building
Three people were seriously injured and nine others were hurt at an apartment complex in The Hague after smoke caused by several car fires billowed into their building. Several people were rescued by firefighters on ladders and aerial platforms as first responders evacuated part of the street.
At least five vehicles parked in a car port on the street showed signs of fire damage. Suffocating clouds of black smoke rose from the street into the apartment windows above, leading to the injuries
People were in a panic inside due to the heavy smoke, a spokesperson told broadcaster RTL Nieuws. "This smoke had blocked the residents' escape route," emergency services said on social media.
The cause of the fire on Laan van Wateringse Veld was still under investigation Wednesday night, but neither mechanical problems nor fireworks were ruled out. The Hague and the Haaglanden region recorded the most fire-related incidents in the Netherlands during the New Year's period.
It started around 7:40 p.m. when firefighters were called to the scene of a vehicle fire at the intersection with Dublinweg in the Lage Veld neighborhood. The alarm was elevated twice over the next fifteen minutes, bringing out dozens of personnel from around the region.
Police assistance was requested at the scene, and as extra ambulances were placed on standby a trauma team was dispatched by helicopter. A Grip 1 incident was declared by 8:15 p.m., with protocol stating that all emergency response teams unite under a single commander.
Firefighters spent the better part of two hours battling the car fires and flare ups. The injured people were taken to various hospitals, while displaced residents were kept warm in busses parked at the scene.
At around 11 p.m. residents were allowed back into the building. An active police investigation was ongoing.