Home » today » News » Escalator in former Sheraton hotel collapses during fire: firefighter (49) gets buried and dies (Brussels)

Escalator in former Sheraton hotel collapses during fire: firefighter (49) gets buried and dies (Brussels)

amg, jvh, tgSource: Belgium, Sudinfo

The fire in the hotel, where renovation works are underway, broke out in a technical tube around 03:30 am. The fire brigade immediately went to the spot, but the fire was very difficult to reach, and raged on the ground floor, the first and second floors. During those extinguishing works, an escalator collapsed and a 49-year-old firefighter was buried. The man was freed as soon as possible, but died of his injuries.

The 49-year-old sergeant major Jean-François, Jeff, Spelmans had been with the Brussels fire brigade since 1999. “Jean-François was a very passionate firefighter, who also thought of others in his spare time,” says Derieuw. “That was the case, for example, when he was climbing K2 in the Himalayas. He then aborted his attempt to reach the top to help a Sherpa who was in trouble. He has missed his own goal that he has been working towards to help someone in need. Helping was just in his DNA. He was a firefighter at heart.”

Jean-François Spelmans leaves behind a partner and child and has a brother who is active in the Brussels fire brigade.

Guests evacuated

Part of the building is already back in use as the Thonhotel. Because the smoke also spread in that part and there was a risk of CO poisoning, the guests of that hotel, about 300 people, were evacuated and transferred to another hotel. Four hotel guests had inhaled smoke and were taken to hospital.

“A magistrate from the public prosecutor’s office has stepped down on the spot and we have appointed a fire expert and a law doctor,” the Brussels public prosecutor’s office said. “The technical investigation of the federal police has also been sent to the scene. In addition, a number of investigations are ongoing, such as the analysis of camera images, a neighborhood investigation and the questioning of any witnesses to determine the cause of the fire.”

The investigation in the building has since been stopped due to stability problems, but also because the fire has flared up again.

Disruption to public transport

Due to the fire, there were no trams for a while on lines 3 and 4 (between the North station and De Brouckère), and on lines 25 and 55 (between the North station and Rogier). However, since 7 a.m., the tram service has been restored on lines 3 and 4. STIB bus 58 is also interrupted between the stops IJzer and Noordstation, and De Brouckère and Noordstation.

There is also disruption for the De Lijn buses that pass at Rogierplein. Lines coming from Simonis/Bockstael make a detour via Albert 2laan, and lines coming from the Kruidtuin take a detour via Ginestestraat.

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