20:17 18/02/2018

One person is being treated in hospital for smoke intoxication after a fire destroyed a furniture store and depot near Place Sainctelette on the canalside in Molenbeek on Sunday morning.

Firefighters arrived within two minutes of the alarm being raised at about 10.00 and immediately called for reinforcements. About 40 firefighters brought the blaze under control by 11.30. Investigators have not ruled out arson.

The store went into liquidation 10 months ago and was due to be demolished to make way for a new property development. Molenbeek mayor Françoise Schepmans said the building had been occupied by two squatters. One of them escaped and the second was taken to hospital.

A spokesperson for Molenbeek town hall said the fire made the building structurally unsafe and it would be demolished as soon as investigators have finished their work. Access to the Rue des Ateliers and Quai des Charbonnages at Place Sainctelette is closed to traffic until then.

Photo: Jonathan Spoelders/Belga

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