High security prison is serious fire risk

The high security unit at Vught prison, where several convicted terrorists are being held, poses an extreme fire risk and is to be partially evacuated within the next week, it emerged on Tuesday evening. A justice ministry spokesman told ANP that the special terrorist unit is on the ground floor and will not be affected.

Five prisoners being held on the first floor are to be moved to a new location. The unit where the fire risk has been identified is a national monument. The building dates from 1943 and was a concentration camp during World War II.
The inspection showed that fire could spread between the cells very quickly and there are not enough doors. The unit also lacks certified smoke alarms and the inner courtyard where prisoners would be taken in case of fire was too small to escape the flames.
Vught mayor Joep Baartmans-Van den Boogaart, who is responsible for the prison’s safety, said six other units at the jail also break fire regulations. However, he said he had given permission for Unit 5, which is used for top criminals who are considered to be a serious escape risk, to remain open.
The checks on fire safety at Dutch jails follow a blaze at the Schiphol deportation centre in 2005 in which 11 people were killed.

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