One month after a gas explosion in Turnhout that killed four people and resulted in 16 flats being declared uninhabitable, the cat of one of the victims crawled out from under the rubble.
The explosion on New Year’s Eve last year, believed to have been caused by a badly-installed gas fire, led to two people becoming injured and four people, two elderly couples, dying. Last Thursday, Noeke, the cat of one of the victims named Rosa Baeten, crawled out from under the rubble, according to reports from VRT News.
People believed the animal to be dead because it hadn’t been seen since the explosion. The neighbour who spotted Noeke among the rubble said she believed the cat was hiding in Rosa and Patrick’s (another victim) bedroom, which has remained intact despite the explosion.
Neighbours are now trying to lure and catch the animal, which has reportedly become very weak and thin and is limping a bit, but so far, their efforts have been without success.
On Monday, social housing company De Ark, which managed the affected flats, started with the clearance of the 16 flats that were declared uninhabitable. It is hoped people assisting in the clearance will be able to bring the cat to safety.
Returning personal belongings
De Ark told Belga news agency that the emptying of the flats will take place under strict safety measures and with a specialised team, in the hope of recovering any personal belongings of the residents.
Once all personal belongings have been removed from the flats, the demolition of the building can begin. According to De Ark, this will probably happen in mid-February.
Earlier this month, the company met with all those involved in the explosion to give information on the aftercare of the disaster, the demolition of the building, the recovery of the contents and the safety of the site.
Housing has been found for all the affected residents of the building within a week, according to Kassandra Driezen of De Ark.