Nine bodies have been found in the smouldering ruins of a holiday home for disabled people that caught fire in eastern France, a chief firefighter says.
Two more people were missing and feared dead after Wednesday’s blaze.“We are looking for the bodies of those who could not leave the building,” Lieutenant Colonel Philippe Hauwiller, who headed the rescue operations, told reporters. “Nine bodies were located. Two cannot be found for now.”
The fire broke out at 6:30am (04:30GMT) and quickly ravaged the building, officials said.
The holiday home in the town of Wintzenheim, about 70km (50 miles) south of Strasbourg, was rented for the summer by a charity that takes care of people with learning disabilities.
The fire broke out so early that “people were caught in their sleep”, Wintzenheim Deputy Mayor Daniel Leroy told BFM TV.
Seventeen people were evacuated, one of whom was sent to hospital, the local prefecture said. It said those missing were from a group of people from the city of Nancy, a two-hour drive away.
France 3 had said earlier that 11 people were missing, 10 adults with disabilities and one charity staff.
Leroy told BFM that those missing were believed to have been aged 25 to 50.
Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said she was headed to the site. “My thoughts are with the victims and their loved ones,” she posted on social media. President Emmanuel Macron called the fire a “tragedy”.