BRUSSELS, Belgium (WCCO) – A group of college students from Minnesota escaped a youth hostel in Belgium after it went up in flames.
The students, who were studying abroad in Brussels, are from Bethel University. There were 28 students staying at the hostel, and a couple faculty members as well. The students were taking a January interim course on international business.
According to the university’s communications department, three students were forgotten during the evacuation of the building. They said they woke up and noticed the fire and escaped without injury.
“Our students are calm and doing well,” said Bethany Opsata, one of the professors in Belgium with the class.
Crews believe the fire started on one of the upper floors. Firefighters worked to avoid letting the flames spread to a nearby hospital.
About 50 people in all escaped from the fire. Though nobody was hurt, the damage to the building was extensive. The building was declared uninhabitable, but students were able to retrieve their luggage and belongings, which included their passports.
Bethel officials said new accommodations have been arranged for the students displaced by the fire.
“I am very grateful for their safety and for the way our faculty and students handled this emergency,” said Deb Harless, vice president and dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.