Six dead and 11 missing after hostel fire in Wellington, New Zealand 9 months ago

Six dead and 11 missing after hostel fire in Wellington, New Zealand

"It was just scary, it was really scary."

New Zealand prime minister, Chris Hipkins has confirmed that at least six people have died after a hostel fire at a hostel in Wellington.

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A fire broke out at Loafers Lodge hostel in Newtown, a suburb in the country's capital, on Monday night and the full extent of the damage was evident as dawn broke.

Hipkins visited the scene on Tuesday and spoke with those in charge before addressing the assembled media and stating that the death toll could soon rise. "I understand six confirmed previously and it looks like there are likely to be more," he said.

Fire and emergency incident controller Bruce Stubbs told reporters that six bodies had been located but that more were unaccounted for. As it stands, 11 more individuals staying at the hostel are unaccounted for.

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hostel fire A general view of the scene after a fire at Loafers Lodge on May 16, 2023 in Wellington, New Zealand. A blaze broke out at a four-story hostel building in central Wellington. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

'I had to jump out of the window' - hostel fire survivor

As well as backpackers, holiday-makers and those visiting Wellington for work purposes, Loafers Lodge has often housed a number of individuals who were placed there by government agencies due to a housing crisis in New Zealand.

Loafers Lodge resident Tala Sili told Radio New Zealand that he made the decision to jump two storeys onto a roof below when smoke flooded the hallway outside his room. "It was just scary, it was really scary, but I knew I had to jump out the window or just burn inside the building,"

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The full toll of damage and loss of life means this is among the country's deadliest blazes over the past 50 years.

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