Six dead, dozens missing in devastating Wellington hostel fire

Photo Courtesy Bangkok Post

A devastating fire engulfed a four-storey hostel in Wellington, New Zealand, claiming the lives of at least six people and leaving many others unaccounted for. The blaze at Loafers Lodge hostel raged throughout the night, with 80 firefighters and 20 trucks battling the flames. A total of 52 people were rescued, while the final death toll remains uncertain reported Bangkok Post.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Chris Hipkins, confirmed at least six fatalities and acknowledged the possibility of a higher death count. Wellington Mayor Tory Whanau also anticipated a higher toll, describing the incident as “absolutely staggering.”

Fire and Emergency Deputy National Commander Brendan Nally reported that there were no sprinklers in the building and the fire alarm failed to activate. Firefighters managed to save several people trapped on the roof using a ladder truck. Nally told Radio New Zealand…

“Those people were going to perish, except for the intervention of our team. Multiple people are walking around because of it.”

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A resident of the hostel, known only as Chris, recounted his harrowing escape through thick smoke to public broadcaster TVNZ. He said…

“It was black as, thick as smoke. It was hard to breathe. Everything’s gone. My room thrashed. I grabbed my vape and my phone instead of my shoes.”

Fire services estimated that around 90 people were inside the building when the fire erupted. Many of the hostel’s residents were shift workers, complicating efforts to determine the exact number of occupants at the time of the incident.

Six individuals were taken to the hospital, with one in serious condition, and 15 others received treatment at the scene. The cause of the fire remains “unexplained,” with police and fire services working together to investigate the tragedy.

Prime Minister Hipkins promised a “thorough review” of the disaster, adding…

“There will be an opportunity to test whether this building was fully compliant with all of the rules that it needed to be compliant with but obviously the focus at the moment is supporting our firefighters.”

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With a Bachelor's Degree in English, Jenn has plenty of experience writing and editing on different topics. After spending many years teaching English in Thailand, Jenn has come to love writing about Thai culture and the experience of being an ex-pat in Thailand. During long holidays, she travels to North of Thailand just to have Khao Soi!

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