Forty homes unlivable following Hague fire
About forty homes in Schilderswijk in The Hague are uninhabitable for the time being following a major fire that started on a residential block Thursday at about 3 a.m. There were no injuries and the fire was brought under control at about 1 p.m., the regional security office said in an update.
"The total number of homes that are temporarily uninhabitable is between 35 and 40. The exact number will be revealed later," the Haaglanden Veiligheidsregio said. Some homes on Joris van de Haagenstraat will be opened back up over the course of the day, but it could be some time before the residents are allowed to examine the rubble on Wouwermanstraat.
Dozens of homes had to be evacuated when fire began spreading from building to building. When the fire brigade arrived at the scene, the fire had already spread across several houses of the complex. The blaze eventually also caught the nearby Al Fath Mosque.
“I was sleeping and suddenly everyone had to go out immediately. I started screaming. I have called out all my neighbors, including a pregnant woman. Fortunately, no one died, that's really the most important,“ a local resident told Omroep West.
Some of the fifty people who were evacuated were temporarily accommodated in Talenthuis on the Ferdinand Bolstraat in The Hague. The municipality said they were looking for a hotel for them. The homes in the complex will be inspected during the day to see if any of their residents can safely return there.
The Al Fath Mosque, a popular house of worship for many local residents, also suffered excessive damage during the incident. Several rooms of the mosque were destroyed, and the prayer hall was largely soaked with water.
“I am standing here with a very bad feeling, you see your own mosque on fire,“ said the mosque's imam. “This feels really bad. I've been here since four o'clock and you can't do anything, I don't think there's anything left to be saved.“
The Mayor of The Hague, Jan van Zanen, addressed the incident during the council’s meeting on Thursday morning and expressed “great admiration“ for the people who helped put the fire under control.