Police suspect arson in fire at Albergen hotel meant for asylum seekers
A fire at the ‘t Elshuis hotel in Albergen on Monday was arson, the police confirmed to RTV Oost. The hotel is set to become an asylum center, with the first asylum seekers set to arrive in four or five weeks.
The fire was discovered at around 6:15 a.m. on Monday. A police spokesperson told the broadcaster that a bush was burning right next to the hotel, also causing some damage to the building’s facade. No one got hurt.
The police spoke to witnesses and investigated the scene. Investigators are still looking for surveillance camera footage of the area. No one’s been arrested so far.
Later on Monday, the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) won a lawsuit confirming its purchase of the hotel. The former owners tried to back out after the government designated the hotel as an asylum center, claiming that the COA never said the building would be used to house asylum seekers. The court ruled in the COA’s favor.
The COA is now renovating the building to accommodate 150 to 300 asylum seekers. The agency also wants to meet with local residents and the municipality. “We want to calm things down. A lot has happened. A lot has been said, and concerns have been raised. Let’s talk about what we want. I hope everyone is open to that,” COA board chairman Milo Schoenmaker said to RTV Oost.