Tragic Hostel Fire Claims Six Lives In Wellington New Zealand
A tragichostel fire claims six lives in Wellington New Zealand. The devastating fire tore through the Loafers Lodge hostel in Wellington, New Zealand's capital. Emergency services are treating the incident as suspicious, and there are concerns that the death toll may rise as rescue teams can safely search through the severely damaged building.
The fire broke out in the early hours of Tuesday, triggering a rapid response from fire crews. Incident commander Bruce Stubbs revealed that six bodies had been located thus far, but due to the extensive damage caused by the fire, a thorough search of the premises has not been possible.
Stubbs addressed the media, stating, "There is a significant amount of debris from the roof collapse, but at this stage, we have located six people. We won't know...how those people perished until we work with police and our fire investigators to determine that with the coroner. At the moment, I'm working on the six, and police are working with their teams to determine other people."
While 52 individuals managed to escape from the burning building, police reported that 11 people were still missing. Fire crews heroically rescued five people from the roof, two of whom were in serious condition and were subsequently hospitalized.
Wellington hostel fire: At least six people dead, dozens unaccounted for in New Zealand tragedy
Acting district commander for Wellington police, Dion Bennett, cautioned against speculating on the exact number of people present during the fire, saying, "We have yet to fully reconcile a list of all of those people who were here last night. We will not speculate on how many people were here and where they have gone."
The Loafers Lodge hostel, located in Wellington's Newtown neighborhood, provided accommodation for a diverse range of individuals, including construction workers, hospital staff, and individuals serving sentences in the community for minor crimes. While the cause of the fire remains unknown, emergency services have categorized the incident as suspicious.
Residents shared their harrowing experiences during the fire. Tala Sili, a resident of Loafers Lodge, recounted the terrifying moment he discovered smoke seeping under his door. Faced with imminent danger, he made a split-second decision to jump out of the window onto a roof two floors below.
It was just scary, it was really scary, but I knew I had to jump out the window or just burn inside the building.- Tala Sili, Resident of Loafers Lodge Hostel
Another resident, Chris Fincham, revealed that fire alarms in the hostel would often sound without any real cause for concern. On this fateful night, it was the shouts of fellow residents that alerted him to the fire.
I heard a voice coming down the passageway saying 'evacuate, evacuate, the place is on fire' – and I didn't think much of it because the fire alarms would go off two or three times a week and we'd just ignore it. But then when I heard this guy, or this person, screaming 'there's a fire, evacuate,' I sat there for about five minutes and then I put my shoes on, got my wallet together, and I thought maybe I should leave.- Chris Fincham, Resident of Loafers Lodge Hostel
Prime Minister Chris Hipkins expressed his condolences and visited the site of the tragedy to meet with emergency service providers.
It is an absolute tragedy, and it is a horrific situation.- Prime Minister Chris Hipkins
The entire nation mourns the loss of life and hopes for a comprehensive investigation into the fire's cause.
As the investigation continues, authorities will work tirelessly to determine the circumstances surrounding this devastating incident. The community of Wellington and the nation as a whole stand united in grief, offering support and solace to the families and friends of the victims who have been forever impacted by this tragedy.