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Nine killed as fire rips through French holiday home for young disabled people
9 August 2023, 12:09
Nine people have died after a fire ripped through a holiday home for people with learning disabilities in France.
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The fire broke out at the home in Wintzenheim, a small town near the German border, early on Wednesday. A total of eleven people were missing before the nine deaths were confirmed.
"We are currently searching for the bodies ... two remain to be found," lead firefighter Lieutenant-Colonel Philippe Hauwiller said.
France's interior minister Gerald Darmanin said earlier: "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.
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.
"The prefect of Haut-Rhin opened the departmental operational center in order to coordinate all the state services mobilised.
"The reception of families who would come on site is being set up."