Four-storey building uninhabitable following fire in Saint-Gilles

Four-storey building uninhabitable following fire in Saint-Gilles
Credit: BelgaFire Engineering

A four-storey building in Saint-Gilles was declared unfit for habitation after being damaged by fire on Saturday, Brussels Fire Service spokesman Walter Derieuw indicated on Saturday evening.

The fire broke out at about 4:00 PM in the building on Rue Fernand Bernier in Saint Gilles, then spread quickly through the wooden floor of a third-floor kitchen, Belga News Agency reports. The building’s third and fourth floors were apparently unoccupied, but there were many small apartments on the lower floors.

No occupants were in the building at the time, so there were no casualties.

Firefighters used two ladders to reach the upper part of the building but could not dismantle the roof, which was made of various materials, including zinc plates. They thus had to work from the inside to undo the roof insulation, a time-consuming operation, and one of the three fire engines used to fight the flames was still on the scene after 8:00 PM since debris was still being removed.

The entire building has been declared unfit for habitation due to the fire and damage from the water used to put out the flames, which poured into the lower stories through the wooden floors. The electricity and gas supplies have been cut, and all meters sealed off.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined: an electrical problem is one of the hypotheses, but that still needs to be verified.

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