Yesterday evening, a fire broke out in the ‘Prijtkerkje’, a small chapel in Philipsdorp, Eindhoven. The fire started at around 18:30. It quickly erupted through the roof of the building and smoke billowed through the area. The Eindhoven fire brigade decided to let the building burn out in a ‘controlled manner’.
Upon arrival, the fire brigade quickly changed the incident into a ‘mid-range’ one and used two fire engines and a special fire truck equipped with hydraulic platform. Unfortunately, the small church in Iepenlaan could not be saved. The property is gutted and nearly completely devastated.
The building had been in poor condition for a long time. A cultural heritage foundation, the Henri van Abbestichting, recently asked the owner to do maintenance on the building. “The building and its history must be preserved,” said Marc van Abbe of the Foundation. He suggested the small church might become a community centre.
The new owner bought the building intending to replace it with an apartment building, but was not granted permission. According to the Van Abbe Foundation, the owner then let the building fall into disrepair in order to eventually obtain permission to demolish and replace it.
The municipality did draw the owner’s attention to safety issues. Something had to be done about these. Children could enter the deserted church to play inside as this might lead to dangerous situations. The Henri van Abbe Foundation asked the municipality to uphold this request, but it is unclear whether anything had ever been done about it.
The small church was once owned by Mr Prijt. He started his own religious community called Assembly of Believers in the building. Things went well but Mr Prijt decided to sell anyway.
In 2011, police discovered a cannabis plantation in the church. After destroying it, things did not improve. There were holes in the roof for years and the building slowly turned into a windowless hovel.
Photo: SQ Vision – Arno van der Linden