Budapest dorm on fire

The dormitory of the Danubian Reformed Church District that houses over 130 theology students caught on fire on 23 January. The fire started late in the evening. Thirty fire trucks arrived on the scene, and over 100 firefighters took part in the extinguishing process. 

It took 100 firefighters, three water cannons, and 12 water jets to put out the fire, reports.

The building that caught on fire houses not only the dormitory but also the bishop’s office, the Ráday Library, the Török Pál Library, the Bible Museum and the Ráday Archives of the Reformed Church of Hungary. The centre of the fire was the dormitory on the second and third floors. This dorm was built in the 1980s, and it suffered serious damages. This is the dorm of the Faculty of Theology, Károly Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary. The students acted very responsibly during the crisis. Everyone immediately alerted the others, leaving all of their belongings behind.

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Students are safe

Approximately 130 students lived in the dorm. Due to the ongoing exam period, only 80 students were in the building at the time of the fire, and luckily, all of them got out safely.  The second and third floors, as well as the nearby kitchen and its surroundings, burnt down completely. The roof of the building is also ruined.

The library and the Ráday Archives suffered extreme damages as well. However, it was not the fire but the water (used to extinguish the fire) that caused the most damage to the Archives. Luckily, the water could not reach the shelves, as it was “only” 10-15cm above the ground, and only those documents were ruined that were stored temporarily on the floor.

One casualty

When the fire alarm went off, 90 people left the building immediately. No students were harmed. Unfortunately, the fire resulted in the death of one person, who stayed in the dorm. He was a father of four. He was not a student of the Károly Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary. He was doing his PhD at another university in Budapest, and he stayed in the dorm one day a week in one of the dorm’s guest rooms, Blikk reports. The death shocked everyone.

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The building is in such bad shape that it is impossible for the students and teachers to move back to the dorm any time soon. There are 158 students who are in need of housing. The university aims to find a place where they can house all of them under one roof so that they are not scattered all over the city. For 130 students, the Church received over 380 offers; all of these would host the students permanently, until they can move back to the dorm, Paró reports.

The Church received an enormous amount of help from locals. Theologians are extremely grateful for any help, financial or emotional. Members of the Church said that the love, support and helpfulness that surrounds them is very rare in today’s world, reports.

The exam period is suspended for the time being. A few students were picked up by their parents, but many of them escaped the building with nothing else but a pair of slippers. The lucky ones found most of their belonging unharmed, but many students lost all of their personal belongings in the fire.


Here, you can make a donation: account number of Károli Gáspár University at OTP Bank:  11705008-20492223

From abroad: 

Swift code: OTPVHUHB


Transfer description: tűzeset or fire

Featured image: BM Országos Katasztrófavédelmi Főigazgatóság


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