Arsonist destroys Haarlem community center
Police said an arsonist was being sought in connection with a fire that destroyed a popular neighborhood community center in Haarlem. The fire started small at around 1:20 a.m. on Saturday, but it quickly swept across the thatched reed roof atop the brick building.
Firefighters elevated the alarm several times at the Posthuis Zanenpark community center on Mercuriusstraat in Haarlem-Noord, with more equipment and personnel sent to the scene. It was finally brought under control after about an hour, and the fire department’s salvage crews took over the smoldering site, a spokesperson for the emergency services operation said.
Police said the building was largely lost by the end of the emergency response, which took 2.5 hours in total. “The police are assuming an arson and have launched an investigation,” authorities said.
“What we were always afraid of has actually happened. The Posthuis has been completely destroyed by arson (that’s what everything points to),” a representative of the community center said to volunteers and neighbors on social media. In the past, they had complained about minor vandalism at the location.
“So sad. For now, a line through all activities and future plans, but we are holding on to hope and will keep you all up to date.”
Officers were out interviewing witnesses and area residents on Saturday morning. The police asked the public to share camera footage from the scene and information that might help solve the case.
The Posthuis had been used for parties, meetings, author’s readings and other cultural activities.