One feared dead in Kaag apartment block fire; Storm frustrated rescue
Firefighters finally managed to extinguish a fire in an apartment complex on Beatrixlaan in Kaag, Zuid-Holland, around noon on Monday. A spokesperson for the Hollands-Midden security region said that the fire is "as good as out and only smoking." One resident is still missing. The emergency services are focusing on the search for that person, also calling in a special tracking dog.
The spokesperson fears that the resident died in the fire. "With the help of friends and family, we have been able to rule out any scenario that the person is not in the building. So the only option that remains is that the person is inside, and there was a non-livable situation. So we fear the worst," the spokesman said. The security region reported that wind and weather complicated their efforts. "For example, our rescue vehicle cannot just move freely."
The complex has 20 apartments and a restaurant. Thirty people were evacuated and checked over by paramedics. None of them were injured. All were accommodated in a nearby hotel after the fire broke out on Sunday evening. On Monday morning, the municipality and the property owner started looking for alternative accommodation, the security region spokesperson said. "The houses on the first floor have been virtually destroyed, and so much fire water entered the homes on the ground floor that they are no longer habitable."
Firefighters had the fire under control at around 2:00 a.m., but it took them another ten hours to extinguish it. They aimed to let it burn out in a controlled manner. The wind made it difficult to put out the fire, and there was a danger that the fire would spread to the buildings across the street. The village is located on the Kagereiland, so support for the fire brigade had to come via a ferry.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times.