The Chancellor of Austria has described the fire which killed eleven elderly people at their retirement home as one of the worst catastrophes in the country’s recent history.
The fire broke out in a room at the back of the building, and spread rapidly.
There were 23 residents and two carers in the building at the time. Six other people were injured, three of them are seriously ill.
More than 250 firefighters from the town of Egg tackled the blaze. There were fears the building might even collapse.
Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer said he could not remember seeing such a dreadful fire with so many dead. A young man tried to attack the flames with a fire extinguisher, but was beaten back. It was hopeless, he said.
Most of the people were asleep at the time, and their age and weakness meant they couldn’t escape on their own. The victims are thought to have died from the effects of the smoke.
It is not known what sparked the blaze, and police have launched a criminal investigation.