Aerial view of camping site Polderpark II, near the beach town of Nieuwpoort. Credit: Google Street View
A holiday camping site near the resort town of Nieuwpoort was engulfed in chaos after at least three lodgings burst into flames on Thursday, prompting a fire brigade intervention made difficult by the presence of gas bottles on-site, a low water supply and the scorching temperatures.
Two fire brigade teams from the nearby beach towns of Nieuwpoort and Oostduinkerke arrived en masse to the campsite known as Polderpark II, which had to be evacuated.
The fire reportedly broke out at around midday in a garden shed of one of the homes before rapidly spreading to three others. The flames left extensive damage to the site but nobody was injured, as the homes concerned were either empty or their inhabitants managed to escape in time, according to Het Laatste Nieuws.
The lack of fire hydrants available in the vicinity of the site meant that water tankers had to make repeated trips from the campsite to the nearest public fire hydrant to supply sufficient water to quench the blaze.
The presence of gas bottles used to supply the homes made the intervention, already difficult in the sweltering heat, even trickier.
“Upon arrival, it turned out that there were a dozen gas bottles,” a spokesperson from one of the intervening fire brigades told the Dutch-speaking outlet. “Caution was required, but ultimately an explosion was prevented with the water we had.”
Additionally, one of the firefighters succumbed to the heat and had to be transported to the hospital, the spokesperson added.
The manager of the campsite said that despite the absence of fire hydrants, Polderpark II is in compliance with safety regulations.
“We have 24 fire extinguishers at Polderpark II,” he said. “Everything is in accordance with the legislation, but if someone puts a barbecue in a garden house, there is little that can be done about it,” the manager said, according to the outlet.