The tower of the Good Herderkerk, partly burnt down on Monday in Hoogmade in South Holland, is stable and the evacuated residents of the church can go home. Only the residents of the rectory cannot yet return. Mayor Marina van der Velde-Menting of the municipality of Kaag en Braassem, to which Hoogmade belongs, announced this at a press conference on Tuesday.
Homes in a radius of 50 meters around the church were evacuated because the church tower could fall over. A local primary school was also closed. Ultimately, five households were unable to spend the night in their own homes and had to spend the night elsewhere in the village. They can now go home again. The relevant primary school was already in use on Tuesday.
On Tuesday morning, when inspecting the church, it turned out that there were still active fires in the church tower and the parsonage, according to the mayor. Although there is no risk of it falling over, the left and rear walls of the building appear to be unstable. The vicarage of the church has also not been released yet and the building remains enclosed. The church board is still consulting.
The church was hit by a very large fire on Monday, which destroyed a large part of the building. The roof collapsed and the steeple went up in flames. A spokesperson for the security region announced on Monday evening that the construction might be unstable and it could not be excluded that the entire church would collapse. This is therefore excluded Tuesday evening.
Emergency services placed fences around the church and on Tuesday an inspection would determine what would happen to the remains of the building. There was also the chance that the building would be demolished.
55Bystander films moment of collapse of church tower in Hoogmade
Fire broke out during work in church
The fire broke out around 12.40 p.m. while workmen were busy burning off paint in connection with repairs. Adjacent houses and a primary school were evacuated because there was a chance that the church would collapse.
Emergency services called later in the afternoon not to come and watch the fire. Residents of Hoogmade and surroundings received warnings in the form of NL-Alerts. At the beginning of the evening an NL-Alert was sent in which it was stated that the smoke released was no longer dangerous.
The spire of the Good Shepherd Church collapses. (Photo: NU.nl/Remco Gerritsen)
See also: Old monuments vulnerable to fire: 'Maintenance often closing post'
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