A devastating fire engulfed a multi-story hostel in Wellington, New Zealand on Tuesday, resulting in the tragic deaths of at least six individuals. Authorities have expressed concerns that the death toll may rise further. The Fire and Emergency Services New Zealand (FENZ) stated, “There are still a number of people unaccounted for, but this number, along with the number of deaths, cannot be confirmed at this time.” Prime Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed the six fatalities, while the police anticipate that the final count will remain below ten.
The police have been unable to provide additional details until the safety of the 92-room building is ensured, as there is a risk of roof collapse. At present, 52 individuals have been located and accounted for. The fire erupted on the top floor of the Loafer Lodge, located in the Newtown neighborhood, shortly after midnight on Tuesday. The exact cause of the fire is yet to be determined by the authorities.
Expressing his condolences, District Manager Commander Nick Pyatt stated, “This is a tragic event for all involved. My heartfelt condolences go to the loved ones of those who have lost their lives.” He further added, “This is a once-in-a-decade fire for Wellington. It’s the worst nightmare for us.” The community stands united in grief and support during this difficult time.