260 evacuated in Zaandam fire

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A fire destroyed a shopping centre, and 24 apartments Wednesday night in Zaandam.

ZAANDAM—Shopping centre De Bloemkorf in Zaandam was destroyed in a fire Wednesday night. Firefighters were unable to save apartments above the center. Residents from about 100 homes were forced to flee. Eight people suffered from smoke inhalation, and one person suffered spinal injuries after jumping from the building.

The fire started in the early evening in a carpet store. Firefighters kept the flames under control while the building slowly incinerated.

The building is in a residential area, and the fire attracted a small crowd. A group of young people hindered firefighters by spitting, and throwing coins into the fire; Three people were detained by police.

Residents of the 24 apartments above the centre, a high rise apartment building, and forty neighboring houses were evacuated. A total of 260 people had to leave their homes, and congregated in a local school. Residents who couldn’t stay with friends or family spent the night in hotels and sports centres.

Radio Netherlands/ANP/Expatica

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