A New Year’s bonfire competition in the Netherlands went terribly wrong when a large structure made from wooden pallets burned fiercely creating multiple fire whirls and sending thousands of burning embers into populated areas. Spot fires ignited in grasses near the beach and firefighters mobilized aerial ladders to apply water to the roofs of multi-story buildings.
Police in the Scheveningen resort area of The Hague had to disperse the crowds in order to allow firefighters to access the area.
Below is an excerpt from ABC in Australia:
…It was lit as part of an annual bonfire competition between the districts of Scheveningen and nearby Duindorp, which are both situated on the Netherlands’ coast.
Sparks and ash rained down on those gathered, with the falling embers singeing their clothes and hair and igniting small building fires, according to local newspaper The Algemeen Dagblad.
The Hague’s Mayor, Pauline Krikke, said authorities would investigate what went wrong with the bonfires and whether the structures would need to be built differently in the future to prevent similar incidents.
“This was awful. I can imagine that people experienced anxious moments,” Dutch publication NL Times reported her as saying.