Fire in Anderlecht has left at least three dead as police continue to search rubble
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Fire in Anderlecht has left at least three dead as police continue to search rubble

The rescue and evacuation of a victim (taken to hospital) and a fireman with heat stroke being taken to an ambulance by a colleague. Photo by Walter Derieuw.

Police have found the bodies of what they believe to be a father and his 14-year-old daughter in the rubble of a building after a fatal fire in Anderlecht yesterday.

At least three people died in the blaze and 30 others were hospitalised with injuries.

Drones were used to help search the rubble today, which is how the bodies were found.

“The cause of the fire is not yet known,” the Brussels public prosecutor’s office said. “For the moment, the building is not stable, which makes the work of the fire expert difficult.”

Witnesses and residents of the burned down apartment building spoke of “several people” still missing since the fire, according to Bruzz, including the father and his daughter.

The recently-found bodies have not been officially identified, but local media report that they are those missing family members.

The other known fatality was that of a 25-year-old man.

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After the heavy fire in the Heyvaertstraat in Anderlecht, 13 people are still in hospital, four of them in critical condition.

Among the injured are five children, including a toddler who was taken to the Military Hospital in critical condition.

The Brussels public prosecutor’s office appointed a fire expert yesterday evening, but the cause is not yet known.

It cannot yet be ruled out that there are still more victims in the rubble, said spokesperson Willemien Baert.

Four victims, including a firefighter, were admitted to the Queen Astrid Military Hospital (MHKA) in Neder-Over-Heembeek which specialises in burns, according to Defence Minister Ludivine Dedonder.

“The first victim to be admitted to the MHKA burns centre is a young toddler,” said the Minister. “In the course of Monday afternoon, the mother of the young victim, who was also injured in the fire, was transferred from St Peter’s Hospital to the specialised burns unit of the Military Hospital in Neder-Over-Heembeek.”

“My thoughts are first and foremost with the injured in this tragic incident,” said Minister Dedonder. “Several families are in a precarious situation because of the fire. Combined with the pandemic, this is a doubly severe setback.”

Helen Lyons
The Brussels Times