A fire broke out in the basement of a building on Vrijheid in Hoogstraten on Sunday evening. No one was injured, but the public prosecutor’s office will send a lab to the scene on Monday to determine the cause.
The building consists of the Hair by M hair salon on the ground floor and two apartments on the upper floors. The resident of the first floor had heard a loud bang. “We have been called for an explosion,” says officer Jan Peeraer of the Taxandria emergency zone. “When we arrived on site, there was smoke in the stairwell of the building. At first we thought the smoke was coming from one of the apartments, but the source of the fire was in the basement. A pile of paper had caught fire there. The explosion may have come from aerosol cans in the basement. No one was home on the top floor and the resident of the first floor was able to get to safety in time. Grid operator Fluvius arrived on site as a preventative measure.”
Because arson has not been ruled out, a judicial laboratory will conduct an investigation on Monday. The building will remain sealed until the lab can do its work. The resident of the first floor can stay with family. For Marieke Leppens, manager of the Hair By M hair salon, this means that her business will remain closed on Monday. “I received a phone call from the fire brigade that there was a fire in the basement and I came here. The utility lines are shut off, so I can’t open the hair salon on Monday. I have already called the customers to cancel the appointments. It’s annoying, but fortunately there is little damage. Some smoke probably came in.” During the fire brigade’s intervention, the police closed Vrijheid between the intersections with Tinnenpotstraat and Moerstraat. (Ram)