Students Safe after Brussels Hostel Fire

January 12, 2012 | 12:02 p.m.

By the Office of Communications and Marketing

Early this morning, Thursday, January 12, a fire broke out in the Brussels hostel where 28 Bethel students and 2 faculty members were staying as part of the January interim course Introduction to International Business. All of the students and faculty were safely evacuated and relocated.

Crews believe the fire started on one of the upper floors. Residents safely escaped the hostel without injury, but damage to the building was extensive. The structure was later declared uninhabitable. However, students were able to re-enter the building to rescue their luggage and personal belongings. All the group’s passports were also safely recovered. “Our students are calm and doing well,” says Bethany Opsata, one of the two business professors team-teaching the course.

The hostel made arrangements for the group to stay together in another hostel not far away. “I am very grateful for their safety,” says Deb Harless, vice president and dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, “and for the way our faculty and students handled this emergency.”

Please keep this group, and all Bethel students and faculty traveling and studying abroad, in your prayers.

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