Expatica news

Arsonists target Bastogne with 16 fires in a month

16 November 2004

BRUSSELS – The town of Bastogne is on high alert after a sixteenth fire was started deliberately in a matter of weeks.

The fire broke out in a school, from which 200 pupils were immediately evacuated.

Bastogne has been hit by a wave of arson over the past month, despite a high police presence and the interrogation of young suspects.

The mayor of Bastogne, Philippe Colard, called an emergency meeting of police and fire officers following the school blaze.

“We may asked for reinforcements from the Federal police and we will try to flesh out our patrolling methods. At the moment we have a maximum of plain clothes officers and hidden cars,” he said.

Police are focusing their enquiries on the suspicion that the attacks are being carried out by a group of disaffected adolescents intent on defying the authorities.

They believe the group is connected to a minor arrested a fortnight ago, who is still in detention.

Suspects were also detained yesterday after the school fire.

The fire started at 3.30 pm on the third floor of the Blaise Pascale school, located in the centre of town.

Fire services from the surrounding area intervened quickly and nobody was injured.

The damage was mainly confined to the attic of the school.

The arson attacks began at the start of October and the firestarters have been targeting public and private buildings.

Both the town hall and an apartment block have been among the buildings set on fire.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news