Rotterdam detention centre 'a fire threat'

28th September 2006, Comments 0 comments

28 September 2006, AMSTERDAM — The expulsion centre for rejected asylum seekers at Rotterdam Airport is a fire risk, Mayor Ivo Opstelten said after an inspection of the centre.

28 September 2006

AMSTERDAM — The expulsion centre for rejected asylum seekers at Rotterdam Airport is a fire risk, Mayor Ivo Opstelten said after an inspection of the centre.

To guarantee the safety of detainees, Opstelten said extra personnel must be immediately hired and firefighters should be permanently stationed at the detention centre.

Opstelten has informed Housing, Planning and Environment Minister Winsemius and Justice Minister Hirsch Ballin that the problems must be fixed within two weeks.

Otherwise, Rotterdam City Council will withdraw its permit for the detention centre.
Opstelten also said that in the next two weeks, no new detainees will be allowed to be detained at the Rotterdam centre.

The mayor commissioned the building and housing inspectorate and the Rotterdam fire brigade to inspect the detention centre following the Schiphol fire last October in which 11 people were killed.

The Dutch Safety Board published its damming report about the Schiphol tragedy last week, blaming government failings for the fire. The national government had not planned to inspect the Rotterdam centre until 2007.

The inspection found that parts of internal walls and the ceiling had been removed, leading to problems in fire containment measures. Cracks were closed with flammable foam and interspaces were not made out of fire-resistant material.

In conclusion, the inspection found "serious structural faults" and an "acute" danger.

The Schiphol fire spread partly due to the empty spaces between cells and the roof of the building.

The Rotterdam detention centre was opened in June 2003. There is room for 300 detainees and currently there are 120 detainees house there.

The detention centre is located in a hangar with an annex. The cells are spread out over two floors without daylight or outside ventilation. There are one and two-person cells.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Dutch news

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