The fires at FC Groningen’s stadium prior to Sunday’s premier division football match against Amsterdam club Ajax could not be put out quickly because of a lack of fire hose pressure, NOS tv reports on Monday.
‘If the hose had worked properly, the fires would not have got out of hand so quickly,’ club director Hans Nijland told NOS.
A police investigation into events at the Euroborg stadium is now under way. As well as problems with the hoses and claims that fire engines were not alerted on time, investigators will also look into reports that the emergency exits to the BB stand where the fires started had been locked.
The fires are believed to have been caused by fans setting toilet rolls alight. The rolls had been brought into the stadium by a group of hardcore supporters who bombarded the pitch before the match started. Nijland told NOS tv that both the club’s board and the fire brigade were aware of plans to throw toilet rolls to create atmosphere. ‘There is always flammable material in stadiums,’ he said.
A report in regional newspaper Dagblad van het Noorden says a potential arsonist can be seen on mobile camera film on YouTube sprinkling liquid over seats before flames suddenly erupt.
Four fans spent the night in hospital after being injured in the fire. In total 28 people were treated, most of them for smoke inhalation.
Sunday’s match was abandoned and will now be played on Wednesday.
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