Brussels, Belgium: In the early hours of Monday morning, chaos erupted on Rue Saint-Jean in Brussels city centre as a fierce fire engulfed a squatted four-storey building.
The Brussels fire brigade, responding promptly at around 05:10, faced a fully developed blaze on the ground floor upon their arrival, according to spokesperson Walter Derieuw.
The daring rescue operation unfolded as two individuals were evacuated via a ladder attached to the front facade. One person descended the stairs to safety, and another made a dramatic escape via a flat roof at the back of the building.
The adjacent houses, too, were swiftly evacuated in the face of the spreading flames.
The toll on human life was significant, with a total of nine people, including five police officers, being rushed to the hospital due to smoke inhalation. Tragically, one of the victims also sustained burn wounds in the chaotic incident.
The Brussels-Capitale/Ixelles police zone, in collaboration with the fire brigade, established a security perimeter to manage the unfolding crisis and oversaw the evacuations.
Despite their efforts, the fire’s origin remains determined, leaving investigators with the challenging task of piecing together the events leading up to the destructive blaze.
The fire’s aftermath destroyed the squatted building, leaving it in ruins.
Additionally, the two neighbouring houses have been declared temporarily uninhabitable pending a thorough structural assessment by a city engineer to ensure stability.
Walter Derieuw provided insight into the ongoing support for the affected residents, stating, “The Red Cross and the city services are looking after the residents.”
The collaborative efforts of emergency response teams, including the Red Cross, aim to provide solace and assistance to those displaced and affected by the traumatic incident.
As the investigation into the cause of the fire intensifies, the community is left grappling with the aftermath of the destruction.
The incident serves as a stark reminder of the unpredictable nature of such emergencies and the crucial role played by emergency services in swiftly responding to protect lives and mitigate the impact on the affected community.
In the coming days, the community and authorities will await the investigation findings, hoping for answers that will shed light on the circumstances leading to the destructive fire on Rue Saint-Jean in the heart of Brussels.
This article was created using automation technology and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our editorial staff members