A short-circuit in a coffee machine is thought to be the cause of the fire which swept through Delft University’s architecture faculty on Tuesday, destroying a large part of the 14-storey building.
No-one was injured in the blaze. The faculty has some 3,000 students.
The fire broke out on a mid-level floor at around 9am and spread upwards extremely quickly. The area around the building has been sealed off because of the risk of collapse. Fire fighters from three regions were involved in tackling the blaze.
A nearby student residence was evacuated and people in other buildings were warned to keep windows closed because of the heavy smoke.
One 21-year-old student who was giving a presentation on the eighth floor when the alarm was sounded said there was no panic. ‘The alarm often goes off for no reason so we thought it was a false alarm,’ Tim Hilhorst told NOS tv. ‘But finally we did go downstairs and everyone was calm.’
Delft University said on its website that many projects and models worked on by staff and students have been destroyed.
A number of important academic collections have also gone up in smoke. The faculty has a library of some 40,000 books, a collection of furniture and the largest collection of architecture books, magazines and drawings in the country, news agency ANP reports.
At press time it was not clear how much had been lost in the fire.
Delft mayor Bas Verkerk said the fire is ‘catastrophic’ for the university.
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