On Friday, a pan of hot oil caught fire and caused panic in the SSH-operated student house. According to Jesse van Mourik, communications advisor for SSH, students tried to put it out by tossing the pan’s contents into the sink, which caused oil to splash back and resulted in minor injuries to one students’ arm. The student received medical assistance but did not need to be hospitalised.
Two fire engines, a police unit and an ambulance responded to the scene. Van Mourik says that the emergency dispatchers had trouble understanding the student’s English when he called in the fire. Because it was unclear what the size of the fire was, the fire department took the precaution of dispatching an extra fire truck to the seven-story residential building.
Fire department spokesperson Matthijs Noordhoff says that the miscommunication issue was not due to the student’s English, but rather that the person who called 112 seemed to be in shock and could not accurately describe the extent of the fire.
There was no damage to the building and no other students were affected by the incident. ‘The building passed the regular fire inspection in February and everything was in order according to the regulations’, Van Mourik says. ‘There was an extinguisher on the floor and the fire was extinguished before help arrived.’
The incident at Van Houtenlaan was the second fire in a student accommodation within a week: Laurens Lo, a 19-year-old RUG dentistry student, died in his home on the Plantsoenstraat from after a fire broke out in his kitchen last Tuesday.