The Kerkhoflei is a side street of the Liersesteenweg, not far from the KV Mechelen stadium. Local residents were awakened at just after 2.30 am by a loud bang. It soon became clear that it was an attack with a fire bomb that caused a fierce fire at two houses and two parked cars in the area.
Young man ran away
“One of our neighbors saw a young man standing across the street watching. He then ran away through a street across the street,” says one of the local residents. They raised the alarm with the emergency services. “The police were immediately on the scene.”
Immediately afterwards, an intervention team from the Mechelen station of the Rivierenland fire zone followed. The fire found an eager prey in two parked cars and the meter-high flames also caused heavy damage to two homes. The fire brigade that was called quickly brought the fire under control.
“We received a report of a fire around 2.30 am. Our colleagues who were the first to arrive on the scene quickly saw that a fire bomb had been thrown. It remains to be seen exactly which projectile was used,” says Dirk Van de Sande, spokesperson for the Rivierenland police zone.
Young family was sleeping
A mother and her three children were sleeping in one of the homes at the time of the attack. They were very affected by the events. Medical workers from an ambulance and the mosquito from AZ Sint-Maarten took care of them. “The mother and her children were taken to hospital for a check-up. The fire caused some smoke to enter their home,” said the first chief inspector.
The facade of the two affected houses is seriously blackened by the flames. The front door of one of the houses was also severely damaged. The event is strongly reminiscent of the attacks that took place in Mechelen last year and were linked to the drug environment. The police cannot yet say whether this is also the case here. “The investigation has started,” says Van de Sande.
Lab searches for traces
The first interrogations take place. Including from the lady who lives in the other affected house. Police officers also check whether anything suspicious can be seen on images from cameras in the area. At just after 4 a.m., the DOVO mine clearance service and the laboratory of the federal judicial police arrived at the scene. Part of the Kerkhoflei remained closed to allow the technicians to do their work. The Antwerp public prosecutor’s office has also already been informed.
Strikingly, one of the affected homes has exactly the same address and house number as the house of a couple in their sixties in Sint-Antonius (Zoersel) where a front door was blown up on Wednesday night. The perpetrator had made a mistake there and it seems that he and his companions in Mechelen wanted to put something right.
READ ALSO. Three attacks in one night, couple in their sixties among victims: “Particularly relieved that our grandchildren did not sleep here”