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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 September 2006, 12:42 GMT 13:42 UK
Dutch ministers quit over blaze
Schiphol airport
It is not clear whether the blaze was intentional
Two Dutch ministers have resigned after an inquiry partly blamed the authorities for a fire at Amsterdam's airport in which 11 immigrants died.

The two officials are Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner and Housing Minister Sybilla Dekker.

The independent report on the Schiphol airport blaze pointed to failings in fire safety measures on Thursday.

The blaze broke out at the airport's detention centre, housing some 350 illegal immigrants, in October 2005.

'Multiple failures'

The report by the Dutch Safety Board said the deaths could have been prevented if proper fire safety rules had been applied.

It said the justice ministry had not sufficiently trained its staff for such a situation.

The immigrants were waiting to be deported at the time of the disaster.

Nine men and two women from Ukraine, Turkey, Surinam, the Dominican Republic, Bulgaria, Libya, Georgia and Romania were killed.

The report said there would have been "fewer or no victims to mourn if the fire security had received (proper) attention from the organisations involved".

It said the justice ministry, the country's building inspection service, and the city of Haarlemmermeer, where Schiphol is located, "failed on a number of points to adhere to the applicable laws and rules concerning fire safety".

The fire has also raised questions about whether the government sacrificed safety standards when it ordered the building's construction in 2002.

The blaze is said to have been started by a stray cigarette butt, but it is not yet clear whether it was intentional or not.

However, one of the prisoners believed to be responsible for the fire has been accused of arson.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Footage of the blaze at Amsterdam's Schipol airport



SEE ALSO
Detainees killed in Dutch blaze
27 Oct 05 |  Europe
Country profile: The Netherlands
25 Jul 06 |  Country profiles

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