Arson likely cause of student dormitory fire; One held
A fire that broke out Tuesday morning in a student housing facility in Capelle aan den IJssel was likely set on purpose, police said in a statement. A fire was also extinguished there on Friday.
One suspect was taken into custody police said late Tuesday night. The 34-year-old man has no permanent place of residence, and a motive was not made public.
Both fires were reported at about 7:30 a.m. Witnesses told investigators that they smelled gasoline around the same time the fires were reported. A man with a black backpack was seen there shortly before the second fire.
The fire on Tuesday began on the second floor of the student dormitory on the Roer which was formerly used as an office building. It quickly spread to other parts of the building. It was extinguished after about 90 minutes.
All 51 apartments were evacuated, with the residents given shelter in buses which were kept warm. They were later moved to an area sports hall.
"We are extremely happy that everyone could evacuate safely", said the owner of the housing foundation.
The students, many of whom are international, were stunned. Fortunately, the majority of them were able to return to their homes by Tuesday afternoon with the exception of apartments on the second floor where a forensic investigation continued later in the day.
“We are very relieved that we were able to arrest a suspect so fast. We hope that this will help bring calm back to the apartment residents,” police said after the 10 p.m. arrest. “Understandably, two fires in a few days caused a lot of unrest among residents.”
A damage estimate was not revealed.