Last Updated on 10 September 2009

There was a fire today across the street from my office.

I was sitting working… looked out the window and saw flames erupting from the top floor of the building across the street.

I called 112 (the 911 of the Netherlands) and a few minutes later there was an explosion powerful enough to blow-out the windows of the floor above my office. Firefighters arrived swiftly and contained the flames before they spread.

Nobody was hurt, but the building is a mess. Demolition guys are out there now (10 pm) tearing down the loose, dangerous chunks of building.

[Here’s a shot during the fire.]

[And here’s what it looks like after demolition workers took down the dangerous and charred pieces.]

[Here’s what the roof looked like before the fire.
This is a compilation of a few images I had.]

Coincidentally, my street is named Jan van der Heijden – a famous Dutch Baroque Era painter and innovator who in 1672 invented the fire hose and improved pumps used for firefighting.

Here’s one of his sketches called “A Comparison of Old and New Firefighting Methods” I found (with caption) on the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam website.

Van der Heyden compared traditional firefighting methods with his new fire-hose. on the left in the foreground is an old fashioned pump: a large barrel filled with buckets of water. A fixed nozzle is attached to the pump to project water. On the right stands Van der Heyden’s invention, which pumps the water directly. The long hose enabled firemen to penetrate deep into the burning building. The insert shows two combined pumps.

Luckily no one was injured today, just property damage and a few people who had to spend the night in a hotel.