New Year’s Eve bonfires spark flaming tornados in the Netherlands
A bonfire competition in The Hague has gotten out of control, with fire tornados racing across a beach and revellers being showered with embers that singed people’s clothing and hair and ignited multiple smaller fires.
Vuurregen #Scheveningen. Daken, bosjes, auto’s staan in brand van het brandende ad van het Vreugdevuur.
The fire, which started as a New Year’s Eve celebration on the beach at the city’s Scheveningen resort area, raged for hours before firefighters brought it under control in the early hours of January 1.
It was lit as part of an annual bonfire competition between the districts of Scheveningen and nearby Duindorp, which are both situated on the Netherlands’ coast.
Footage taken near the beach shows embers flying as a crowd watches the growing fire, with the wind whipping the flames into tornadoes that travelled across the sand.
Sparks and ash rained down on those gathered, with the falling embers singeing their clothes and hair and igniting small building fires, according to local newspaper The Algemeen Dagblad.
Police were reportedly forced to intervene to control the crowds and give firefighters the space to fight the fires.
The Hague’s Mayor, Pauline Krikke, said authorities would investigate what went wrong with the bonfires and whether the structures would need to be built differently in the future to prevent similar incidents.
“This was awful. I can imagine that people experienced anxious moments,” Dutch publication NL Times reported her as saying.
“For them a festive evening ended in a personal drama. I sympathise very much with residents and entrepreneurs who are affected.”
No-one was reported injured in the incident, according to euronews.