UP to 10 people are dead and as many as 30 are missing after a blaze ripped through a hostel with fears it could have been started deliberately.
The horror fire broke out in a four-storey hostel building in central Wellington, New Zealand, overnight.
As many as 10 people are thought to have died in the hostel fire[/caption]
A fire chief described it as his “worst nightmare”.
The country’s Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said he understood six people have been confirmed dead, but there could be more fatalities, while authorities say 30 people have not been accounted for.
Wellington Area Commander Inspector Dean Silvester said the police’s main priority is to find out how many people were living in the building at the time of the blaze.
The emergency services were called to the Loafers Lodge hostel just before 12.30am, local time, where a fire had started on the top floor, according to the New Zealand Herald.
Wellington Fire and Emergency District Manager Nick Pyatt said 52 people have been accounted for from the building, with a number of people still missing.
The hostel can accommodate 92 people although it is not clear how many people were inside the building at the time.
According to the Herald, there is speculation speculation the fire may have been started deliberately.
Pyatt told the paper: “I can sadly report that this will be a multi-fatality incident.
“Our thoughts at this time are with the families of those who have perished and with our crews who valiantly rescued those and attempted to rescue those that they couldn’t.
“This is our worst nightmare. It doesn’t get worse than this.”
Wellington mayor Tory Whanau said this is “our worst nightmare.”
”I’m devastated,” she told TVNZ’s Breakfast show, ”I dare say it’s been a shock to the system – a very emotional few minutes with the crew here.”
“I’m feeling the emotion and the remorse… here as well,” Whanau added.