Cause of fire in apartments Joan Muyskenweg remains unknown

On Saturday evening, 3 June, a fire broke out in one of the added floors of De Enter apartment complex on Joan Muyskenweg in Amsterdam. All 95 households were able to leave the complex unharmed. Over the past few weeks, the fire service has been investigating the cause of the fire.  The conclusion of this investigation is that it is not possible to determine the cause of the fire.

The fire service report also stated that the building met a higher level of fire safety requirements than required by law. There were some impairments to fire safety devices, but these did not play a crucial role in the cause and/or rapid spread of the fire. Additional investigations by independent fire investigators determined that there was no relationship between the electrical installation and the cause of the fire.

Seven apartments in upper section with fire damage
According to the fire investigation, the fire started on the 6th floor and spread through the walls to the roof. ‘That the fire was able to spread as far as it did was due to a random combination of coincidences,’ the fire service said. The fire raged for almost six hours in seven apartments in the added upper section of the building. The fire also destroyed the entire roof. The remaining 88 flats suffered varying degrees of damage due to soot and the water used by the firefighters. Due to the fact that utilities such as gas, water and light were cut off, all the apartments in the complex were declared uninhabitable after the fire.

Fire extinguishing work
The fire service stated in their report that the fire reached the roof through the walls. ‘The strong wind and flammable insulation under the bitumen roof contributed to the rapid spread of the fire. The solar panels on the roof also burned, but these did not contribute to the rapid spread of the fire.

The fire service also reported that they were unable to use the dry standpipes (which can be used to connect fire hoses to take water to upper floors), which delayed the extinguishing work by about 20 minutes. In accordance with laws and regulations, Vesteda has dry standpipes checked every year and pressurised every five years. The latter was scheduled for July 2023, as the complex was completed in August 2018. Meanwhile, Vesteda has ordered early inspections for dry standpipes in similar complexes. This inspection has already been conducted at the Enter’s identical neighbouring building.

Temporary housing for residents
Vesteda is very aware of possible financial and emotional damage suffered by the residents affected by the fire and has done everything possible to accommodate them and offer alternative accommodation. With support from fellow landlords, all residents received an offer of new accommodation within three weeks, and a third of the resident took advantage of these offers. Another third were able to find replacement accommodation themselves and Vesteda is still in talks with the remaining residents. Some of these are looking for replacement accommodation themselves and others are waiting for a second and final offer of a home. It is expected to take at least another six months before the first residents can return to their apartments.