A fire significantly damaged a dormitory at the Károli Gáspár Reformed University in the centre of Budapest, Hungary, earlier this week. One hundred firefighters responded and battled the flames for hours with the dormitory and nearby buildings evacuated.
There was one death, a guest at the dormitory, and the living quarters of the students have been completely destroyed, with students losing nearly all of their possessions.
A damage assessment is underway, but it is certain that the students will not be able to return for a long time. The lecture rooms in the building are also damaged, and it is uncertain when teaching will be able to resume.
After the tragic event, the Reformed University suspended the exam period and sent all students home. They will be able to finish their semester with individual schedules. For all those who lived in the dormitory, regardless of at which university they were studying, aid was provided, so that they could buy warm clothes and train/bus tickets to travel home.
The fire was spotted by a theology student, and he immediately called the fire department and started evacuating the building with his friends. The students also played an active role in the identification process of their colleagues and helped everyone to reach a safe place during the evacuation process. The press reported that they remained calm and behaved bravely during the fire and prioritized saving their fellow students above everything.
Donations started to arrive already on the night of the tragedy from churches and individual donors. All material donations are being collected and distributed by the Hungarian Reformed Church Aid; housing for the students was offered by other universities.
One of the students said, “The love and willingness to help that is around us at the moment is very rare to experience.” István Szabó, presiding bishop of the Reformed Church in Hungary, issued an official statement to thank everyone who helped in fighting the fire or evacuating the dormitory.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Please join us in praying for the family and friends of the person who died in the fire, along with the students, faculty and staff of the Károli Gáspár Reformed University.
The Hungarian Reformed Church Aid is accepting monetary donations for the students who have lost most of their valuables in the fire. Donations can be sent to the bank account of the University:
Account’s owner name: Karoli Gaspar Reformatus Egyetem
IBAN: HU22 1170 5008 2049 2223 0000 0000
Bank’s name: OTP Bank
Swift code: OTPVHUHB
Please add as comment: “tuzeset” (fire case in Hungarian)
Read more on the Reformed Church in Hungary website: Reformed Dormitory is Set on Fire