Fire Spinoza building: ‘A lot of smoke, little fire’

14-02-2017, 15:43

Photo: Joeri Borst

A fire on the roof of Spinoza building has caused unrest at campus today. The smoke was visible from far away. The cause: during maintenance, a cooling device on the roof of the building caught fire. Nobody was hurt.

Around 12.30, dark smoke clouds rise up from the roof of Spinoza building. ‘Is that the top floor or the roof?’, two students who are watching wonder. Six fire trucks arrive with loud sirens. At the same time, students and employees swarm out of the main entrance. They have to leave the building quickly, and are not allowed to take the elevator, they were warned by a voice over the intercom. People take photos with their phones. It does look spectacular: so much smoke above the Spinoza building.

De uitgebrande koeltoren. Foto: Tim van Ham
The burned cooling device. Photo: Tim van Ham

But the police is not too happy with this. ‘Stand back!’, officers yell a couple of times. A lot of students do not even hear them: they flock around the building and try to guess what the possible cause of the fire could be. The police decides to block the area around the main entrance with barricade tape. It helps. The students leave.

An hour later, the fire is under control. The firemen and -women get back into two fire trucks and leave. The cause of the fire turns out to be a cooling device on the roof. Employees and students are allowed back into the building. A little later, classes are resumed, the elevators work again and the whole building is back in business.

Update 14.31: According to Anne-Pauline Sak (spokeswoman for Public Safety) there was a lot of smoke, but little fire. The damage was limited to the cooling device on the roof. The whole building is back in business. The evacuation of the estimated 600 people in the building went smoothly. There were rumors that the fire alarm did not work well, but according to Sak and spokesman Martijn Gerritsen, it definitely worked properly.

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