10.29 Europe/London, July 18, 2011 By Julian Clover

A major fire in the Dutch transmitter tower at Hoogersmilde, Drenthe has left large parts of the Netherlands without terrestrial television or radio reception.

The fire raged on the sixth floor of the tower at an altitude of 180 metres. Mayor January Brothers told a press conference on Friday that initial attempts were made to extinguish the fire from within, when this failed the building was evacuated. The tower collapsed at around 15.30 CET.

Novec, which operates the tower, has placed a temporary transmitter at nearby Assen, but DTT operator Digitenne has told customers it cannot guarantee service.

Meanwhile, the FM transmitter at IJsselstein was also shut by a fire, meaning 75% of the Netherlands is without FM radio.