Mayor expresses support for residents 125 homes destroyed in A'dam fire; 7 pets killed
Mayor Femke Halsema of Amsterdam expressed support for the residents of some 125 homes left temporarily or permanently uninhabitable by a fire in an apartment complex on Voetbalstraat on Sunday. Seven cats and a bearded dragon died in the blaze. A 27-year-old resident of the building on the Riekerhaven-terrain is in custody on suspicion of arson.
The building was mainly occupied by students and refugees. “Lots of happy faces during the Sinterklaas arrival today, but elsewhere in the city, a violent fire broke out,” Halsema said on Instagram. “Approximately 125 homes are (for the time being) uninhabitable. A dramatic day for the residents and their worried families. Not only losing everything, but pets have also died.”
“Losing your home and your belongings is a traumatic experience. The death of pets is very sad,” Halsema said. “Many residents were at the beginning of a new life. I deeply sympathize with them, and tomorrow will visit the site and the victims. I wish them a lot of strength.”
The victims were accommodated in the Sporthallen Zuid sports halls. Alderman Rutger Groot Wassink visited them there on Sunday. “In the next few days, the municipality will make every effort to provide shelter and arrange new accommodation for people,” Halsema said.
The fire in Startblok Riekerhaven started at around 8:30 a.m. on Sunday. After hours of work, firefighters had the blaze under control at around 1:00 p.m., though it took into the evening to completely extinguish it.
The fire department evacuated Startblok Riekerhaven and several surrounding buildings. Residents whose homes were not affected by the fire, smoke, or water damage were allowed to return home on Sunday night.