Dozens feared dead as fire rips through Wellington hostel
Multiple people are believed to be dead after a "worst nightmare" fire at a 92-room hostel in New Zealand.
The Loafers Lodge hostel in Newtown, in Wellington's south, caught alight overnight, prompting an evacuation.
Fire and Emergency New Zealand said "a number of people" were unaccounted for but is yet to confirm any deaths. Privately, officials are bracing for dozens of fatalities.
"This is a tragic event for all involved. My heartfelt condolences go to the loved ones of those who have lost their lives," FENZ district manager Nick Pyatt said on Tuesday.
"It doesn't get worse than this.
"This is a once-in-a-decade fire for Wellington. It's the worst nightmare for us."
Adelaide Road is currently closed between John Street and the Basin Reserve due to a fire at a Newtown hostel. pic.twitter.com/25EUZxzevl
— Wellington City Council (@WgtnCC) May 15, 2023
Some 52 people were taken out of the building after being notified of the blaze at 12.25am.
More than 10 fire vehicles responded to the emergency across the morning and the fire was put out after 6am.
"It's a really concerning development and obviously our thoughts will be with all the firefighters involved and all the victims of the terrible tragedy that's unfolding," NZ Prime Minister Chris Hipkins told local television.
There were no vacancies in the accommodation complex, except for a number of rooms being treated for bedbugs, Radio NZ reported.
The hostel was also used for transient housing.
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.
You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter and download the Yahoo News app from the App Store or Google Play.