Simulated Easter fire on tower of the Basilica in Oirschot is sign of hope during the corona crisis

Simulated Easter fire on tower of the Basilica in Oirschot is sign of hope during the corona crisis

It all started in the first week of April, with a call from Deacon Wilfred van Nuenen from Oirschot in Brabant. Because of the corona crisis, the Oldulphus parish could not hold its religious services and celebrations during the Easter weekend. To position the church as still bringing light to a dark period, the playful idea came about to make a virtual Easter fire burning on the Saint Peter Basilica on the market. After consultation with the municipality and the fire department, it became time for the next step. How do you start this?

FireWare specialises in simulating fires and disasters. We train rescuers that something really is going on. This simulation is of course not destructive to the environment and environmentally friendly. We were surprised and most honoured when Deacon Wilfred van Nuenen called upon us. Of course we also want to help to create an Easter fire in these times! Simulate realistic flames is exactly what we as FireWare are very good at!

Light as a sign of hope: an Easter fire at high altitude

Easter is associated within the Christian faith with the light. As for the church community in Oirschot and surroundings (except (funeral) services in a very limited circle), it held for weeks no more church services so Deacon Wilfred van Nuenen looked for an alternative. And this was necessary, many believers in the Oirschot area experienced the loss of services in the Easter period as a great personal loss.

This alternative has been found by burning the "light to the joy of the resurrection" at the top of the church tower.  To avoid any risk there is of course no real fire, but a fire simulation. A hopeful flickering Easter fire for the whole area.

How we did it

Simulating a bonfire at a high altitude is a challenging project.  Especially at this time, when the staging technicians must respect the 1.5 meter rule. Yet it worked! The other challenges, such as the 270 steps, the lack of an elevator and the challenges in terms of power supply, have been overcome. The good care of our team certainly helped!

For this simulation, 4 Cumulus smoke machines are used in combination with the harmless Outdoor smoke liquid. In order to have a good spread of the smoke curtain along the four sides of the tower, the smoke machines are each provided with a perforated Smoke Hose set. The whole is supported by 20 FireSpots and 4 Phoenix Silkflames. Of course, all supplemented with the necessary cabling. All materials are available in the rental fleet of FireWare.

More than just fire

The fire simulation was supported by several Easter songs on the carillon, played by Rosemarie Seuntiëns, as a tribute to the people who care for the sick and to comfort the victims. Admiration was rife by inhabitants who looked from their homes. Everyone could enjoy the event without violating the current restrictions. It is nice to see how a church is doing his best to try to be here for everyone, respecting the restrictions. We don't have much experience of Easter in such a situation.


Although the Easter fire was announced in several local media, it really looked from afar so realistic reports of fire entered into the control room. Initially we then decided to lower the smoke effects. The messages kept coming. Therefore and in consultation with the central room and fire department we decided to stop the simulated Easter fire on the church tower.

A wildfire

This beautiful initiative of the parish did not go unnoticed. Both national and international media picked up on the sensational event. We stress the articles in the Noordhollands Dagblad, AD, and Het Laatste Nieuws. A beautiful Easter message of the parish has spread like wildfire! We want to thank all Oirschot stakeholders we have been able to contribute to this original idea.

You need help?

Do you have a unique idea for the simulation of a fire or disaster? Please feel free to contact our staging specialists. With staging specialist knowledge and an extensive rental fleet, no challenge is too far fetched!