Brussels firefighters extinguished more than a hundred fires on New Year’s Eve and carried out over 200 interventions for medical assistance, including to five people who were injured after the balcony they were on collapsed.
Fire crews extinguished a total of 110 fires, 82 of which was waste bags or bins on fire with only nine inside a home, with no injuries reported.
In Schaerbeek, the firefighters came to the assistance of eight people after the balcony they were on top of collapsed just after the stroke of midnight, Bruzz reports.
The wooden and iron structure of the balcony gave way, causing the group to fall onto a flat roof on the floor beneath them. Five people had to be hospitalised with the most serious injury reported being an open leg fracture.
Including the incident in Schaerbeek, the fire department carried out 297 medical assistance interventions, out of which 138 were inside a home and 159 outdoors.
The firefighters also said that the fireworks show at the foot of the Atomium, which drew in around 60,000 people, required 23 interventions, with and additional 65 carried out in the nearby events in the Palais du Heysel.
While the number of interventions was up from last year, a spokesperson for the fire department said no aggressions against the crews had been reported, unlike last New Year’s Eve.
“Our crew members did not report any incident of verbal or physical aggression against them,” spokesperson Walter Derieuw said in a statement.
Derieuw said that the collaboration with police officers, which were tasked with protecting firefighters, went “very well,” but added that it was regretful that the measures were necessary.
Brussels police were charged this year with escorting firefighters on duty on the last night of the year, following a series of incidents during a riotous New Year’s Eve in 2018, during which firefighters reported several instances of aggression against them.