Wednesday 15 July 2020

Teenagers guilty of starting fatal New Year fire in apartment block

A gavel in a courtroom.

Photo: Depositphotos

Two teenage boys have been found guilty of starting a fire in a block of flats at New Year that killed a father and son.

The boys, then aged 12 and 13, were setting off fireworks in the lobby of the apartment building in Arnhem’s Gelderseplein in the early hours of January 1.

The 39-year-old man and his four-year-old son died in a lift that became stuck when the power failed. The boy’s mother and sister were also in the lift but survived the fire.

Prosecutors argued that the teenagers, who lived in the block, had started the fire deliberately, but the court decided this was not their intention.

No punishment was imposed, but their parents were ordered to pay €90,000 compensation to the victims. The prosecution had demanded a 60-hour community work order.

The court said it had taken into account the children’s age, their feelings of guilt and shame and the fact that they had had to move house as a result of the fire.

The housing association that owns the building implemented a number of extra safety measures in the wake of the fire, such as installing smoke detectors in every apartment and informing all residents about escape routes and fire safety. However, an investigation concluded that there were no serious shortcomings in safety procedures.

Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl

The DutchNews.nl team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation in recent weeks. Your financial support has helped us to expand our coverage of the coronavirus crisis into the evenings and weekends and make sure you are kept up to date with the latest developments.

DutchNews.nl has been free for 14 years, but without the financial backing of our readers, we would not be able to provide you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.

If you have not yet made a donation, but would like to, you can do so via Ideal, credit card or Paypal.