Parents and four children die in house fire
A family of six died in a house fire in Huy, Liège province, on Tuesday night, according to the emergency services and local authorities.
Firefighters were called out shortly before midnight to a terraced house in the centre of the town but were unable to rescue the inhabitants, a couple and their four daughters. Newspaper L’Avenir reports that the girls were aged between five and 14.
Fire chief Christophe Jadot was the first to arrive at the scene. “It wasn’t a big house, but it was a house where six people lived,” he said. “There were lots of mattresses, clothes and toys. This tragedy will affect everyone. A fire with six victims, including four children: in all my career, I’ve never seen anything like this.”
The cause of the fire has not yet been established. A forensic expert commissioned by the Liège public prosecutor’s office visited the scene on Wednesday morning to begin an investigation.
"A fire with six victims, including four children: in all my career, I’ve never seen anything like this"
Jadot said the house had not been fitted with smoke detectors, an obligation for all homes in Flanders and Wallonia. In Brussels, only rented properties are obliged to have detectors, and they are the landlord’s responsibility.
The Belgian flag at Huy's town hall has been lowered to half-mast in recognition of the tragedy. “Last night, our town experienced a tragedy,” said acting mayor of Huy Éric Dosogne. “Unfortunately, a family that was the victim of a violent fire could not be saved. My thoughts are with the victims, their families and loved ones.”
Forensic police at the scene of the fire in Huy, 15 November © BELGA PHOTO BRUNO FAHY