Fear and uncertainty after nighttime car fires: ‘Why is someone doing this?’

1/4 Car fires in Tilburg

The residents of Ridderstraat in Tilburg are still scared. The street was startled by meter-high flames around five o’clock on Saturday morning. Local residents found four burning cars in the street. Xavier Aerts was sleeping peacefully until he woke up with a start. “The neighbors were shouting that there was a fire. When we opened the shutters in the bedroom we saw the flames rising above the roof.”

Profile photo of Floortje Steigenga

Xavier woke his children and wife and walked them downstairs. “I opened the kitchen door and saw the smoke coming in through the window. That really gave me a scary feeling. We actually wanted to get out as quickly as possible, but the emergency services told us to stay inside,” he says.

Once the fire was extinguished, the damage became apparent. Four cars were set on fire and declared ‘total losses’. The fire also caused damage to the homes of a number of residents. Xavier’s kitchen window burst and the air conditioning pipe melted.

“I washed my car yesterday.”

Gerard de Wit’s car went up in flames: “My first reaction was: ‘my car is on fire!’, as long as nothing happens to my house.”

The damage to his home mainly consists of soot damage, broken windows and paint damage due to the heat. Meanwhile, he looks at his car, of which little is left. “I had washed my car yesterday, so this is a shame. Fortunately, it is only material damage and a car is replaceable. I think the most important thing is that it has not spread to the house. I was really afraid of that at first.”

“I hope my children can sleep tonight.”

Xavier also realizes that things could have turned out very differently: “We got through the eye of the needle. We have a wooden fence. The fire could very easily have spread there and then to the house. So in that respect we are happy that we are still here.” His children are also quite shocked: “They are calm now, but I hope they can sleep tonight.”

The residents of Ridderstraat are now wondering who would do something like that? It was immediately a topic of conversation last night, says Jason van Stiphout: “Nothing ever happens here. We thought about an act of revenge, but we thought that was strange too. So we really have no idea.”

Xavier hopes that clarity will come soon: “This is a really quiet, nice neighborhood. I don’t know why anyone would do this. No one has seen anything about the arson so far, so we have no description. If anyone knows who is behind this, I would like to hear about it.”


Four parked cars on a street in flames, also damage to houses