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Deadly fire at New Zealand hostel being treated as suspicious

The fire that killed a man at a New Zealand hostel is being investigated as suspicious.

The fire that broke out in Loafers Lodge Monday night killed at least six people, while several other victims are still unaccounted for.

The police are now attempting to enter the building after the fire crews have left Wellington.

Concerns about the stability of the building has delayed the move.


Officials have warned that the investigation could be lengthy, methodical and take several days.

Photo: Wellington City Council

Inspector Dion Bennett stated: “Officers will also be searching for and recovering those who died in the fire.”

“We are aware that many people are waiting to hear from family members and friends, including residents who have escaped the fire but are eagerly awaiting news about their fellow tenants.

“I want to reassure you that a large team of officers is working on this case, and we are committed to providing the answers as soon as possible.”

In the immediate aftermath, firefighters rescued 52 people. Wellington’s mayor Tory Whanau described the incident as “a shock to the system”.

She said: “I am devastated.” She added, “I feel a lot pain and emotion for those who are lost.”

The fire was devastating to many of the hostel residents, who were left with nothing and had lost everything.

Some local media reported that false fire alarms were frequent in the months preceding the tragedy.

Tamrat Adan,, said: “The alarms keep going off every week, twice, three times. There’s no management here.”

Mr Adan fled with only his jacket and mobile phone, saying he did not know where he was going to sleep.

Tala Sili: “It’s just really scary. But I knew that I had to jump from the window, or I would burn in the building.”

Image: Survivor Simon Hanify. Pic: NZ Herald/AP

Simon Hanify, a NZ Herald reporter, told them that he heard a fire alarm around 10.30pm. He added: “I did not leave the building. I went to the balcony, smoked a cigarette, and the alarm was off within two minutes.”

It’s happened so many times that people have been sent back into their rooms after standing on the street a little bit.

The second alarm, at 12.30am, was real. Mr Hanify went around knocking people’s door and urging them evacuate.


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