Three hundred people were evacuated from the Rogier metro station at around 06:00 on Wednesday due to a fire in the Sheraton Hotel on Place Rogier (Rogierplein). The Brussels fire brigade reports that one firefighter died in the line of duty.
The fire broke out in the hotel, where renovation work is in progress, at around 03:30 in a technical shaft, Belga News Agency reports.
According to Sudinfo, an escalator collapsed on top of a firefighter at around 05:00 during the fire-fighting operations. The man was freed from under the rubble by his colleagues but died on the spot.
“He was freed as quickly as possible, but unfortunately he died of his injuries,” Walter Derieuw of the fire brigade told VRTNWS. “Our firefighters' family is deeply affected and the colleagues are now being cared for.”
Emergency services attended the scene immediately and are currently still on site with municipal services, who are providing psychological assistance. A municipal crisis meeting has also been announced.
"I would like to thank the fire brigade for their courage and I sympathise with them," Mayor Emir KIR said in a statement.
"Police, emergency services and municipal services are on site. After the shock and emotion, we will have to find out how the fire started and spread."
Last week, a worker was also killed in the same hotel during renovation works when he fell on a wharf between the 25th and 31st floors.
Delays on metro
The blaze stopped trams some time on lines 3 and 4 between the North Station and De Brouckère, and on lines 25 and 55 between the North Station and Rogier. The Rogier metro station reopened around 14:00, said Derieuw.
Tram service was restored after 07:00 on lines 3 and 4. STIB bus 58 remains suspended between the stops Ijzer and Noordstation and De Brouckère and Noordstation.
The buses of De Lijn that pass by the Place Roger were also affected. Lines coming from Simonis/Bockstael divert via Albert 2-laan and lines coming from Kruidtuin divert via Ginestraat.
Update: This article was updated following the reopening of the Rogier metro station.