MAASTRICHT. There was a fire in a student house in the Brusselsepoort area during the night of Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 February. The police found evidence of arson and have started an investigation. The building has been declared uninhabitable. “Nobody was harmed. I am so glad that I wasn’t there.”
A little after one o’clock at night, a number of calls came through 112 about a fire in a building on the corner of the Sint Annalaan and Joseph Hollmanstraat. At the time of the fire, no students were in the building, contrary to what other media have reported. The apartments of the four female inhabitants will be unfit for habitation for a while.
One of them, German Carla Keller, who studies International Business at Maastricht University, lived on the second floor. She hasn’t gone to look at the apartment yet – too dangerous because of the damage, neighbours saying that part of the staircase has been demolished – and has no idea how she will find her belongings. She is “grateful” for not having been there, “nobody got hurt”, but she hopes her hard drive survived and that she can get it soon. “I just came back from Asia and took a lot of photos and videos there that I wanted to edit over the next weeks.”
Keller was the only one who stayed in Maastricht that night. “I left for a friend's birthday and came back when the fire had already broken out, to find the house surrounded by police and fire brigade. They tried to tell me as much as they knew, offered to get urgent stuff out of the house for me and asked whether I had a place to stay. Luckily I know a few people here and could stay at a friend's place. But of course I’ll need a new place, it won’t be possible to move back in within the next months.”
Keller has no idea what happened, how the fire could have started. “Everything seemed to be fine when I left.”
Even the living room of a neighbour (who wishes to remain anonymous) was filled with smoke. “We were only allowed back inside after four o’clock in the morning. No, no sooner because carbon monoxide levels were too high.” The police don’t want to comment on their evidence for arson, but the neighbour heard from one of the people who raised the alarm that the front door was open and there was glass on the ground.
The police investigated the student house at the beginning of the week, declares the neighbour later on. Apparantly, she says, nothing has been found that indicates arson. “In the corner where the fire started, there was a laptop or a printer. So perhaps an electrical appliance was the cause after all.”