DORDRECHT - A raging fire destroyed tonight least seven buildings in the center of Dordrecht. Could occur with a supreme effort be that the fire does not go over beaten to other buildings on the narrow Front Street.

The fire started at furniture Buytink, which merged completely in flames. The local fire speaks, due to the size, now the 'century of fire'.  

The smoke from the fire was in a large part of the region see. From Zwijndrecht were even flames visible.

During the fire also hit houses, a school, a cinema and several shops fire- and water damage. Four retail properties are burned to the ground. Of these, only still remains a smoking mess. The damp down will take hours.

Firemen fight from the Front Street furniture store a fire in Buytink at the corner of the Visstraat; given the Vriesstraat. Foto: Rini Boon, Regional Archives Drechtsteden


The fire started around seven in the four together lying properties of furniture trade Buytink. The staff had just a half hour before leaving. An employee who walked past the building discovered the fire.

When the fire brigade arrived several buildings were in ablaze. The fire was beaten by two shoe shops and trade in organs of the Front Street. The fire also raged on the first and second floor.

The fire was so intense, it threatened to skip the properties on the other side of the narrow Front Street. The fire which was just appearance. However, several windows of buildings are across the street from the fire jumped.


Dordrecht firefighters received assistance from the corps Papendrecht, Zwijndrecht, Alblasserdam, Ridderkerk and Rotterdam. Also the volunteer fire, which was practicing, was called to the fire. "We they were there immediately afsturen ", let the fire chief Dordrecht Kamphuis Learn to Het Vrije Volk.

"But it was all just in time", says the same Kamphuis De Telegraaf. "This was the most dangerous fire of my career. This is partly due to the inflowing public. Fortunately, the police people managed to keep enough distance. "

How great was the heat of the fire, was demonstrated by the fact the flashing lights of a platform from the fire melted.

Around nine o'clock the signal was brand master data. At the fire injuring one fireman then fell a hose on his arm.

The fire fighting the fire at the furniture store Buytink the Visstraat. Foto: Rini Boon, Regional Archives Drechtsteden.


Partly because of the huge cloud of smoke hung over the city moved hundreds of people to the site of fire. The Visbrug and Front Street dozens of officers were needed to keep the people away.

Agents even had to rely on a oefenend band of the police to keep the crowd behind the gates.


The damage is estimated to exceed seven million guilders. Just the inventory of furniture is worth five million guilders, let the know owner.

Employees of Shoe Merchant Boxel have tried to save some stuff from the store, but that is hardly successful. "We just had all the new spring - summer collection and in-house. Our case was unloaded ", the aggrieved owner Van Boxel tells the Telegraph. "I'm afraid we have to leave a huge spring." It is not clear whether the insurance will pay all damages.


According to police the burned buildings were not sprinklers or smoke detectors. Whether the cause of the fire can ever discovered is unclear. Chances are that all tracks on the may indicate cause destroyed in the conflagration.

Preliminary arson is not excluded by the fire, but short is a possibility.

Hoe ging het verder?

The damage from the edge Buytinkbrand was ten million guilders. Several homes and businesses went up in flames.

At the spot where Buytink sat came back several shops. There was also built a garage. The Walloon Church and the cinema were eventually rescued. The church later another filliaal Ter Meulen.

The damage to furnishings Buytink in Visstraat, caused by fire on 29 maart 1982, popularly called "Fire in Buyink’ called. Foto: municipality of Dordrecht, Regional Archives Drechtsteden

The biggest victim of the fire was finally the owner of the furniture store Buytink, Boy Burger. In 2007 He looked back in a documentary of RTV Dordrecht on Buytinkbrand.

From his home address in Sri Lanka, he said that he was the day after the fire at de recherche '. “All I got was told that it was probably a gas leak”, says Burger. “That would be detonated in any way. But security detectives could not give in here.”

The damage to furnishings Buytink in the Front Street, caused by fire on 29 maart 1982, popularly called "Fire in Buyink’ called. The tower of the Walloon church at the corner of the Visstraat. Foto: municipality of Dordrecht, Regional Archives Drechtsteden

Police confirm the tale of Burger about the uncertainty of the cause. “The head of the then Crime Lab has even hung on a platform above the havoc”, Wim looks Erkelens, who still works at the Rotterdam Police Unit, in the documentary back. “But the devastation was so large it could never be ascertained what was the cause.”

Insurance has "had no difficult questions' Burger. “But I can tell you: it was not "in the fire, of Fire '. It was a traumatic experience, because you see go in one night lost a part of your life's work.”

Buytink-brand 1982 – RTV Dordrecht (2007)


NRC Handelsbad – 30-03-1982 – Fire strikes center of Dordrecht

Trouw – 30-03-1982 – Millions fire damage in Dordrecht

Het Vrije Volk – 30-03-1982 – Firemen rescue center Dordt

Telegraph – 30-03-1982 – Conflagration swept through Dordrecht mall

Dutch Newspaper – 31-03-1982 – Ten million damage to major fire in downtown Dordrecht

Het Vrije Volk – 31-03-1982 – Firemen molten material in blaze

Telegraph – 31-03-1982 – Admiration for firefighting action

Foto’s: Streekarchief Drechtsteden, Rini Boon

Author: Dave Datema

published: 27-09-2019

story number: 104

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