aalst - It is such a story that every carnival society hopes to never experience: the carnival car that burns out, and after years of procedures still have to pay over 7 tons, or 24,000 euros per person. 'This is terrible, many have to sell their house.'
The Geloeif mè Goed group was able to store the confetti in 2004 after a beautiful procession in the Belgian city of Aalst. The float was allowed to enter the shed after services. That's where the drama started. At night the tractor of the car caught fire, and the whole shed was turned into a blaze- with damage to surrounding businesses. No problem, the party-goers thought, because the municipality had assured everyone.
That turned out to be a miscalculation. Insurer Ethias only insured the carnival cars during the procession, not after. The party-goers had to pay all damage. Now there is the 'ultimate' offer to pay 24,000 euros per person. 'It could just as well have been 38,000 euros per person, because the total costs are actually over one million euros', says a spokesman for the insurance.
'A drama', one of them calls the situation against Het Nieuwsblad. 'We have been carrying this with us for years. We have organized charities, the city of Aalst has also tried to mediate, they have done a solvency study with each of us, to see how much we could pay. Because we are ordinary people, not rich people. 'The men are pessimistic about the consequences. 'I fear that many of us have to go into debt mediation or sell their house. '
They do not have another choice, because the insurance hopes that the association will accept the offer. If not, it will send bailiffs to demand the full, original sum.