Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

14 die in disabled workshop blaze

Fourteen people have died after a fire at a factory at a workshop in Germany

Fourteen people were killed and eight were injured when a fire broke out at a workshop for disabled people in Germany's Black Forest region.

Scores had to be rescued from the building as it quickly filled with smoke.

More than 100 firefighters were deployed to battle the blaze, which began at the complex in Titisee-Neustadt on Monday afternoon, said the fire service.

Ambulances races to the scene as smoke poured from the windows of the modern, three-storey centre in one of the country's deadliest blazes in recent memory.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is "shocked" about the loss of so many lives, her spokesman said on Twitter.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known.

The centre usually has around 120 people at any one time, said Mirko Steffl, a police spokesman in the nearby city of Freiburg. It was not immediately clear how many people had to be rescued, but by late afternoon workers had determined that no one else remained trapped in the building, he said.

The centre employs people with mental or physical disabilities in a variety of jobs, including metalwork, woodwork and electrical installation, and it is run by the Catholic Church's Caritas organisation.

Smoke inhalation is believed to be the likely cause of the deaths of the 13 disabled people and one of the facility's social workers, said police.

Eight people were hurt, but none of them had life-threatening injuries. Some 25 psychological counsellors were assisting those rescued from the building and the victims' relatives in a nearby warehouse.

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