At least 6 dead in New Zealand hostel fire and others still unaccounted for
At least 6 people have died after a fire broke out at the Loafers Lodge hostel in Wellington, New Zealand, according to Prime Minister Chris Hipkins. Emergency services were called to the hostel just after midnight, with more than 50 individuals being rescued from the four-story building. Officials say 11 people remain unaccounted for, and the death toll is expected to rise. Firefighters faced significant challenges in extinguishing the blaze, which had engulfed the top level of the hostel. The building contains asbestos, and authorities advised locals to wear face masks and keep windows closed due to smoke inhalation risks.
Loafers Lodge offers 92 rooms for short and long-term guests. The hostel is designated as emergency accommodation by New Zealand’s Ministry of Social Development and is available fo the unemployed, homeless or those who have been deported from Australia. The cause of the fire is unknown, and police are investigating the possibility of arson.
PM Chris Hipkins has expressed his condolences and praised the efforts of firefighters who risked their lives to rescue individuals and put the fire out.