Video: Mayor furious about fireworks explosions that damaged eight homes
Buren Mayor Josan Meijers said she is furious with New Year’s revellers who ignited powerful, illegal fireworks shortly after midnight in the center of Beusichem, a Betuwe village that makes up part of the municipality of Buren. "These are no longer fireworks, these were bombs," Meijers wrote in an open letter on the municipality's website.
The police arrested two people who were part of a large group that was on the Markt, where the explosions took place. The investigation into their involvement, and the group, was still ongoing on Monday.
Due to the explosions, the windows of at least eight homes were blown out. The historic buildings were boarded up as a result. Dozens of small windows were also damaged at the church on the Markt. The damage estimate was in the hundreds of thousands of euros, police said.
"It makes me very angry and sad. I say to the people who caused this: Shame on you. Take responsibility for your actions and compensate for the damage. It is not cool, but very stupid to do something like this," said the enraged mayor.
Authorities warned people about Cobra 6 firecrackers more than five years ago, which were the most powerful readily-available illegal firework at the time. They contain up to 30 grams of flash powder, a more powerful alternative to gunpowder. Although they can easily blow off someone's hand, Cobra 6 fireworks are considered small by today's standards, Wim Woortmeijer of the Dutch Forensics Institute told NOS.
New fireworks were being sold on the market in the run-up to New Year's Eve 2021 that contained 25 times more flash powder than the Cobra 6. "That really is a life-threatening bomb," said police property crimes expert Jack Sijm.
Meijers also explained in her open letter how action was taken against the illegal party that started immediately after the turn of the year in Rijswijk, also part of the Buren municipality. Hundreds of people, including those from different Dutch municipalities and different countries, made their way straight through the meadows to the party location. It was very dark, she said, and it was unknown what the partygoers' intentions were.
She said that she waited to take action against them until there were enough extra police officers available on the morning of New Year’s Day. The municipality is still investigating who organized the party and whether authorities can impose fines on them.
Reporting by ANP