A fire ravages the structure of the Récollets church in Binche: “Shame on the criminal(s)!”

The fire started this Friday, around 12:45 p.m., at the level of the roof of the former Récollets church (photos). Members of the Cité du gille fire department came in large numbers. Very quickly, residents of rue Carlo Mahy were evacuated as a safety measure.

The building had been deconsecrated and sold to a private party in 2016. For two years, it served as a “trendy” bar during soumonces and carnival. He communicated with the so-called “Récollets” home, which moved seven years ago to the Merbes road and whose space had been used in its time to shelter refugees.

►► According to several residents, the place was squatted.

►► The fire is of voluntary origin.

“Cracks Before the Fire”

Séphora, a 16-year-old Manageoise and Séréna, a 15-year-old Levalloise noticed something abnormal, even before noticing that a fire had broken out.

“We were in the Espace Jeunes car park, just next door. We heard creaks. There was a lot of noise. We were sure there were people inside. So we waited in front. Then a friend came in to see if there was anyone inside. It was then that we realized that there was smoke coming out of the building. We warned our friend who came out. And we then warned the firefighters, ”they told us.

The frame of the old building was completely destroyed. The interior of the church could however be partially preserved, because the bell tower (which fell around 2:30 p.m.) did not collapse inside, as it had the case during the fire of Notre- Lady of Paris. He actually crashed on the avenue, in front of the butcher’s shop “Le Roi du boudin”.

A company expert in stability required

The mayor, Laurent Devin, went to the scene. He urgently called in a company with expertise in stability, only to intervene after the fire had completely extinguished.

At 2:30 p.m. on Friday, it was still impossible for members of the fire department to work other than in the air. The fire was finally brought under control by mid-afternoon.

Three different homes

According to the mayor, no less than three outbreaks were detected by Binchois firefighters. “It seems more than likely that the fire was of arson. You should know that the place was classified. The City had requested that measures be taken at this level. I would also like to point out that we had never given the slightest authorization for the organization of events at this place. Friday evening, the mayor went further by declaring “shame to the criminal(s) who caused this fire.

A local resident told us that, three months ago, he had contacted the City and the Walloon Region to warn them that the door was open and that people were inside the church. “I was told that we were going to tell the owner. The place continued to be squatted, although we must not forget that part of this building is listed. It had to happen…”, he concludes.

For the owner of the church, which had been put up for sale by a real estate agency for about a year, the squat problem only concerned the building which housed the home and then the refugees and there was, according to him, no access between the two buildings.

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