News - March 27, 2012

Eye witnesses talk about fire at Dijkgraaf

It was a hive of activity at the Dijkgraaf student flat after fire broke out there at about three o'clock this afternoon. Student Imko Gaastra tried to put out the fire and occupant Arjan Naber took care of the injured.

Imko Gaastra with his empty fire extinguisher.
The fire brigade arrived at the scene this afternoon with two fire engines, a boom lift and 15 firemen. There were many police cars and ambulances. SBS and TV Gelderland were present with camera crews. The mayor, Geert van Rumund, also showed up for a while.
Student Imko Gaastra lives on the 8 th floor, on the same side as the room in which the fire broke out. When he smelled something burning and saw brown smoke, he grabbed hold of a fire extinguisher and headed for the room. By then, the female occupant had already left. He and a friend were the first to enter the room. 'We used the fire extinguisher at first but there was a lot of smoke. A mattress was in flames, and perhaps other objects as well. I couldn't see clearly. We managed to put out the flames initially. It was pitch black at that time as the window panes were completely covered with soot and no light could enter. Then the flames flared up again, but we couldn't remain any longer due to the smoke and the heat.' The two were afraid that the window glass would shatter. But it did not because the door of the section was open and that air to breeze through, they said.
Arjan Naber lives on the ground floor at Dijkgraaf. 'I was in the new Kortenoord medical centre when I received an alarm call via my telephone. I then decided to spring into action.' Arjan, a first-aid provider, rushed home to get his first-aid kit. 'I sent all my house mates outside, but I ended up forgetting to take my first aid kit.' Along the way, he came across the occupant of the room, supported by a girlfriend. 'To say that she was in panic was an understatement. She was crying and it was very difficult to communicate with her. I believe she was suffereing from smoke poisoning, because she breathed with a whizzing sound.' Omroep Gelderland reported that the girl was in pyjamas, which was unusual at about three in the afternoon, the time when the fire broke out. But Arjan could not confirm this. 'She wore something which looked like pyjamas, but it could have been some kind of homewear.'
The condition of the girl is unclear. Omroep Gelderland reported that she looked sooty while a fire brigade spokesperson had talked about first degree burns. In any case, the corridor will be unsuitable for occupation for the time being because of smoke, heat and water damage. The occupants are waiting for a solution.