Brussels officials struggle to tow a burned-out truck

Brussels officials struggle to tow a burned-out truck
Credit: Goedele Desmet/Facebook

A burned-out truck has been sitting in the same spot for more than a week as authorities do not agree on who is responsible for towing it.

The charred trailer truck has remained untouched on Brussels’ Boulevard Poincaré since it burst into flames last week, reportedly as a result of a short circuit.

“Last week we heard a loud bang. The day after we discovered a large burned-out truck was on the avenue, we thought it would be removed soon, but it is still there more than a week later,” Goedele Desmet, an architect working in a nearby office told Bruzz.

Desmet said that after she reached out to authorities, the replies left her navigating an administrative puzzle all too common in the capital city, managed by a hotchpotch of regional officials and by local officials for its 19 municipalities.

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“The City of Brussels points to the Region and the Region points back to the City — as a citizen you just don’t know,” Desmet said.

Replying to local residents’ complaints, Brussels councillor for public cleanliness, Zoubida Jellab, said that the boulevard was the responsibility of regional authorities and that the truck should be removed by the regional cleaning agency.

But the agency, Bruxelles Proprété, said that the truck was the responsibility of the police or of the municipality.

“It is a regional road, but this is not ordinary waste,” Bruxelles Proprété spokesperson Etienne Cornesse said. “I think Brussels Mobility is competent,” he added, referring to the regional mobility agency.

But an official at Brussels Mobility was also quick to pass on the responsibility, this time to the police.

“We think that the police take care of towing it away,” spokesperson Inge Paemen said. “Otherwise, everyone would leave their broken car on the road if they thought Brussels Mobility would clean it up.”

At the police, the focus was brought back to the owner of the vehicle, with spokesperson Ilse Van de Keere saying their insurance should step in.

“It depends on the circumstances,” van de Keere said. “In this case, a short circuit caused the fire. So maybe the owner of the truck should take the necessary steps to have it towed, perhaps through the insurance.”

Desmet said that she hopes that authorities would step in and remove the truck soon.

“That wreck attracts an incredible amount of dirt, which is also not cleaned up,” she said. “We have hope, but it is a pity that it is necessary to get the media in on it to get this done.”

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

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