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Damage is seen to a hostel building following a fatal fire in Wellington on May 16, 2023.
At least six people have reportedly died after a fire broke out inside a hostel in New Zealand’s capital city Wellington early Tuesday local time.
“I’ve received a number of reports, I understand six were previously confirmed and it looks like there are likely to be more,” New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins told CNN affiliate Newshub.
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Emergency services survey the scene after a fire on May 16, 2023 in Wellington, New Zealand.
Firefighters responded to the shelter shortly after midnight and were able to evacuate 52 people, Wellington Fire and Emergency District manager Nick Pyatt told local media.
Five others were taken to hospital, but dozens more are still missing, he also said.
“Unfortunately I can report that this will be a multiple fatality incident. Our thoughts are with the families of those who have perished and with our crews who bravely rescued those who tried to rescue those who couldn’t,” Pyatt said during a news conference.
According to authorities, about 100 people were believed to be inside the building, Newshub reports.
“Many of the tenants work shifts at the hospital. This makes it difficult for the emergency services to know exactly who was there at the time the fire broke out.” Newshub reported.
The cause of the fire is unknown, Pyatt said, adding that there will be a formal investigation into the fire.