Fire destroys prison wing as wardens strike
18 May 2006
BRUSSELS — A serious fire raged through the Nijvel jail on Wednesday night, destroying an entire wing of the prison, but no injuries were reported.
The fire was deliberately started by an inmate after prison wardens went on strike.
It was initially feared the roof of the prison wing would collapse, but those fears proved to be a false alarm.
However, the prison wing was completely destroyed by the blaze.
The fire started at about 6pm when prisoners threw a Molotov cocktail on the roof of wing 5000. Inmates were disgruntled by the strike action initiated by prison guards.
Firefighters fought the blaze from two fronts and eventually had the fire under control at about 10.30pm.
A large number of inmates were to be transferred to other prisons on Thursday morning. Those believed responsible for the blaze will be transferred first.
Justice Minister Laurette Onkelinx was highly critical for the Liberal union after its members went out on strike due on Wednesday afternoon to a conflict with prison management over security at the jail.
Striking staff refused to return to work despite being informed that a fire had broken out at the prison. Trade union federation ACV has distanced itself from the strike.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news