Investigators in Germany are trying to establish the cause of a fire that has left nine people dead at a shelter for the homeless. The blaze broke out among prefabricated buildings at an official center run by the social services in the town of Halberstadt. Five people are being treated in hospital for serious injuries.
The temporary shelter was located near the town’s main station in the state of Saxony-Anhalt and housed mostly homeless men. The state’s interior minister visited the scene of the tragedy, saying it was important to quickly establish the cause of the blaze to avoid any speculation. He said: “An action plan was put in place when the alert was raised, and the time it took for firefighters and rescuers to react was absolutely normal. They arrived quickly, but unfortunately it was too late.” Investigators say there is nothing to suggest the fire was deliberately lit, and say it appears more likely to have been caused by an accident or a technical fault. Five of the prefabricated buildings on the site were destroyed in the blaze.