Fire rips through historic Enkhuizen center

Brandweer fire department Volkswagen
Stock image of a Dutch fire department Volkswagen vehiclephoto: cakifoto / DepositPhotos

There were no injuries reported after a large fire ripped through the historic town center of Enkhuizen on Sunday. The fire was first reported at about 4:20 a.m. near Sleutelsteeg on Westerstraat, a pedestrian-only street where over 100 landmarks and monuments are registered.

The residents of the building were home at the time of the fire and managed to escape unharmed. At least one building's roof was decimated by flames, but the extent of damage in the neighborhood was not immediately known. First responders evacuated the area's tightly-packed buildings, most of which were built in the 17th and 18th centuries. About two-dozen homes were emptied, and those affected were given shelter in a hotel not far from the scene.

Within ten minutes of the first report, fire fighters elevated the severity of the alarm three different times. By 5 a.m. they had declared the incident a Grip 1 local emergency, which establishes a protocol where all firefighters, police officers, and paramedics unite under a single incident commander. Residents in the area where also told to keep their windows and doors shut because of smoke.

The fire was struck out by about 7 a.m., with the Noord-Holland Noord Security Region saying that damp down procedures to extinguish any smoldering remnants of the blaze could take several hours. Residents whose homes were affected by smoke were cautioned to keep their windows and doors shut, and not to try ventilating their homes until the smoke clears.