Dozens of residents close to a major fire in Delft were allowed to return to their homes on Sunday evening as area firefighters continued their efforts to completely extinguish a blaze that had broken out in a shopping mall. The fire broke out on Leeuwenstein, a street with many furniture stores. Many businesses have still not been able to open Monday morning.
An NL-Alert was sent to area residents just before 5:45 p.m. due to the amount of smoke from the fire. People were told to stay away from smoke, close windows and doors, and turn off ventilation systems. The all-clear was given around 10:30 p.m. in a separate NL-Alert, although the fire department said it would be hours before the blaze was fully extinguished.
A local resident told Omroep West he believed the fire started in JYSK in the late afternoon. “I was watching the football, and suddenly I felt something, then I saw a batch of flames coming out of the JYSK. When I spoke to someone from the store, he said there had been a short circuit and the place was on fire,” the resident said.
The cause of the fire was still under investigation Monday morning, and due to the extent of the damage, the cause may remain undetermined. It was particularly difficult for firefighters to get to the center of the fire, which was in the middle of the building. The roof was partially gutted to tackle the fire from above and prevent it from spreading further, the regional broadcaster said. A fire extinguisher robot was deployed to bring the situation under control.
Residents of apartment complexes across from the blaze have been told to evacuate the buildings as a precaution. A policeman told a resident: “We had to get out urgently and be downstairs alone in five minutes.
A reception center has been set up for residents at the town hall, according to the Haaglanden security office. “There was a lot of fear. But we are well looked after here with pizza, coke and beer,” a resident told Omroep West.
Efforts to fight the fire were further complicated by weather conditions. When thunderstorms passed over the area, firefighters had to adapt. A spokesperson told the ANP newswire that it was luck that allowed residents to return home on Sunday evening. At that time, officials were scrambling to find places to sleep for the night.