A major fire broke out in a building that was set to be converted into an asylum center in Bilzen, Belgium on Sunday night, prompting many to wonder if the building was torched on purpose.
Weeks before the fire, which severely damaged the building, intense protests – led by the national populist Vlaams Belang – against the establishment an asylum center in the neighborhood had taken place, Belgian daily newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws reports.
“There were no casualties,” said fire brigade captain Frank Parthoens. “We had the fire under control relatively quickly. Now there are mainly fire extinguishers to extinguish the roof structure.”
A spokesperson for the police said, “There are material indications that it is definitely a matter of arson,” adding “There are one or more offenders. The investigation has been in full swing since last night.”
Johan Sauwens, the mayor of Bilzen, also announced that traces of burglary were discovered in the building.