sun 22 feb 2009 16:09:03 witte de withstraat
firemen burn houses in slotermeer
here's a bit of news so incredible that i'm actually tempted to blame my dutch for my inability to comprehend it. but alas the problem isn't my dutch: something this unbelievable actually did happen in this city.
here's what i didn't know: occasionally the amsterdam fire department "practices" on buildings that are scheduled for demolition. they go to certain residential districts, kick down some doors and set fires, which are then to be put out by trainee firefighters. and if that were the story, it would be incredible enough on its own.
so here's the story. this past thursday, the fire dept practiced on some buildings in descartesstraat in the slotermeer district. they'd gotten permission to do so from the residence corporation "ymere".
only problem: there were still people living there.
nobody was home at the time. when the residents came home, they thought some kwajongens (bad boys) had set fires in the floors and storage areas below their dwellings. they were surprised to find that their buildings had been arsonized by the fire department itself.
and as of saturday the fire department still hadn't offered any explanation as to how this could happen.
in the tv news story i saw, the victims seemed upset about what had happened, but were in my opinion astonishingly calm about it. some poor lady from the brandweer was standing there telling them she felt bad that nobody could offer an explanation as to how this could have happened (in other words, they sent somebody to talk to them who had no responsibility whatsoever).