According to the New Zealand Herald, a fire that started at a four-story hostel in Wellington on Tuesday claimed the lives of at least 10 people. Up to 10 people may have perished in a horrifying fire overnight at a hostel in Wellington, and urban search and rescue teams have begun searching through the smoldering remains of the building.
A fire was detected on the third level of the four-story structure, the Loafers Lodge hostel, at about 12:30 in the morning. According to the New Zealand Herald, police have verified this morning that there were no sprinklers in the building and that 20 people are still missing.
Firefighters are still seeking for missing individuals despite 52 people from Wellington's Loafers Lodge Hostel being located, according to Wellington Fire and Emergency District Manager Nick Pyatt. At about 12:30 am, he said, they were summoned to the hostel.
The families of those who have died, as well as our crews who bravely saved those they could and tried to save those they couldn't, are in our thoughts right now, Pyatt told reporters.
This is the stuff of nightmares, remarked Pyatt. “It doesn't get any worse than this.”
Police stated they will be conducting an investigation with fire and rescue personnel since the origin of the incident is yet unknown.
In an emergency center the council set up at a nearby track with showers and other amenities, some 50 individuals who had managed to flee the fire were being assisted, according to Wellington City Council spokesman Richard MacLean.
He said that some elderly persons it was aiding had managed to flee in little more than their pajamas.
He said that “a lot are obviously shaken and perplexed about what happened.”
Prime Minister Chris Hipkins earlier told the AM morning news show that he knows there have been six verified fatalities and that there are probably going to be more. According to Hipkins, it may take some time for officials to determine the death toll since the structure is not yet secure enough for police to enter.
“It's a terrible tragedy, really. The situation is horrible, the prime minister told reporters. There will undoubtedly be many inquiries into what occurred and why it occurred in due time. However, dealing with the problem must be the priority for the time being.