Suspect arrested in Utrecht explosion

Dutch police car
Dutch police car. (Photo: Politie)

A 70-year-old man from Utrecht was arrested in connection with an explosion and fire in an apartment building on Marshalllaan in the city on Thursday night, the police said in a statement.

The man showed up at a police station and said he was involved in the incident. According to the police, he is "probably the resident" of the apartment in which the explosion happened.

A body was found in the apartment. So far the police only said that the victim is a woman. Her identity has not yet been confirmed. How she died is also still unclear.

Acquaintances of the couple who lived in the apartment told RTV Utrecht that the man stabbed his wife and then set fire to their home. 

The police responded to the apartment building around 8:40 p.m. after a report of a fire. When they arrived, flames were already coming out of the home and bystanders were helping residents out of the building. Police officers also started helping with the evacuation.

One police officer became trapped by smoke and heat and had to escape the building through a window. He dropped to a small roof over the door of the building. Bystanders shot to his aid and helped him to the ground.

According to the police, the officer inhaled a lot of smoke and broke two bones in his heels. He was taken to hospital by ambulance. Two other people were treated for smoke inhalation at the scene.

"The police would like to express their appreciation for the great helpfulness of local residents and bystanders in the incident", the police said. "The help and care given to our injured colleague, but also the quick help with the evacuation and the direct cooperation with requests from officers on site, made a deep impression on us."