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Volendam: Fire in a Dance Hall

2001

At least eight die, hundreds injured in Dutch fire

At least eight people have died and about 130 injured in a fire at a cafe in the Netherlands packed with teenagers celebrating the New Year.

It's estimated that 700 people were inside the dance hall called Little Heaven, in the town of Volendam northeast of Amsterdam, when the fire broke out.

Seven men and one woman between the ages of 17 and 22 were found dead on the third floor of the hotel. Fifteen of the injured are reported to be clinging to life while another 60 people are reported to be in serious or critical condition.

Witnesses say they heard an explosion and then they couldn't see anything as the hall was plunged into darkness.

Many of the people inside had no way to escape as most of the emergency exits were blocked. Some fled the flames by leaping from the three-storey building.

The mayor of Volendam speculated that blind panic was the reason so many people were injured.

Police are not sure what caused the fire although a spokesman said it may have started when Christmas decorations caught fire. However, the report of an explosion has led some to believe that fireworks may have been set off inside the building.

Volendam is a small fishing village on the Ijselmeer - an inland lake which joins with the North Sea. Officials warn the death toll may rise

 
 
 
   
 
  http://www.iklimnet.com
 
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