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Fire rips through French holiday home for disabled people as 11 missing
9 August 2023, 10:34
'Several casualties' have been rescued at a holiday home for people with learning disabilities in France as 11 people are missing.
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The fire broke out at the home in Wintzenheim, a small town near the German border, early on Wednesday.
France's interior minister Gerald Darmanin said: "Despite the rapid and courageous intervention of the fire department ... several casualties are reported."
A total of 17 people were evacuated from the complex as the fire broke out at about 6.30am.
One person was taken to hospital and 76 firefighters managed to bring the blaze under control. Some 40 police officers were also deployed.
The home is reportedly run by a charity that helps young people with disabilities.
French authorities said eleven adults, from Nancy in eastern France, are unaccounted for.
They had travelled private accommodation to enjoy a summer holiday.
French prime minister Elisabeth Borne said: "Following the terrible fire that took place in Wintzenheim last night, I am going there with [families minister] @auroreberge.
"My first thoughts are with the victims and their loved ones. I salute the mobilisation of the firefighters."
Firefighters of the Haut-Rhin region said 300 square metres of the 500 square metre building was ablaze.
"The fire was quickly brought under control despite the violence of the flames," the firefighters said.
"17 people were evacuated. There is 1 person in relative emergency evacuated to the hospital and 1 shocked person. 11 people from the group of adults from Nancy are still missing.
"The prefect of Haut-Rhin opened the departmental operational center in order to coordinate all the ttate services mobilized.
"The reception of families who would come on site is being set up."