Large fire engulfs Hague homes, mosque
A fire that broke out in a residential complex on Wouwermanstraat in The Hague early Wednesday morning also spread to the Alfath Mosque on the same street. The incident in the Schilderswijk neighborhood was first reported shortly after 3 a.m. Only when the fire department arrived at the scene did it become apparent that several houses on Wouwermanstraat had caught fire.
Dozens of homes were evacuated and several homes reportedly suffered extensive damage. There were no initial reports of injuries.
“Very intense. This is not normal. I don't know what to say,” one resident told Onroep West. “Bulgarians, among others, are living there. They had to leave their homes. They kept their money at home, so now they’ve lost everything. I think it's so sad, that it makes me cry.”
The fire brigade deployed a cherry picker to beat back the flames, and various drones to monitor the fire. As a precaution, the residential block in nearby Joris van der Haagestraat street has also been cleared.
Within the first hour of the response, firefighters elevated the alarm twice to call for more assistance. Eventually they declared the scene a Grip 1 local emergency to organize all first responders under a single incident commander.
"The fire has spread very quickly. It is not under control yet, we still need a full commitment," said a fire brigade representative. The fire brigade expects to be extinguishing the fire at least until 10:00 a.m.
Mayor Jan van Zanen is said to have also arrived at the scene. A temporary shelter was arranged for the people who were forced to leave their homes. Tram traffic in the area was also diverted.
Due to the heavy smoke, local residents are advised to keep windows and doors closed. NL Alert has also been issued at 7:08 a.m.
The cause of the fire is currently being investigated.