Investigations launched into Schiphol tragedy

27th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

27 October 2005, AMSTERDAM — Several organisations and government authorities are demanding investigations into the cause of the tragic Schiphol Airport fire.

27 October 2005

AMSTERDAM — Several organisations and government authorities are demanding investigations into the cause of the tragic Schiphol Airport fire.

Dutch ministers are shocked and appalled by the fire, which killed 11 people and left 15 others injured. The fire erupted shortly after midnight and raged for three hours on Thursday morning.

The blaze at the Schiphol detention centre is also the second to have occurred at the complex. A fire last erupted in 2002 shortly after the detention centre was opened.

A spokesman for the European organisation which protects detainee rights stated that complaints from detainees regarding the performance of military police have to be examined.

When it comes to other jails, the chance that fire spreads to other cells is nearly impossible, the spokesman said, stressing that it is difficult to understand why it occurred at Schiphol.

Doors can only be opened manually at the Schiphol centre. A Justice Ministry official said it is impossible to open all of cells at once electronically.

The detainee lobby group will start its own investigation about the level of fire safety at the Schiphol centre.

Deputy Mayor Michel Bezuijen of Haarlemmermeer (Schiphol area) has also announced an independent investigation into the emergency response effort.

The public prosecution office will launch criminal inquiries to determine the circumstances surrounding the blaze.

Outraged by tragedy, the Lower House of Parliament has called for a speedy and independent investigation to determine the cause of the fire.

Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende commented just before the EU meeting of member state leaders in London on Thursday that the fire was a horrible disaster.

"I am shocked by a disaster of this magnitude. Our compassion goes to the surviving relatives," he said.

Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk said earlier that it has been a horrendous experience for all those involved. Together with Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner, Verdonk visited the detention centre on Thursday morning.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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