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Fire safety

Dortmund fire department evacuates hundreds from apartment complex

Firefighters in the German city of Dortmund have ordered the evacuation of a high-rise apartment building for "fire safety reasons." The evacuation of the complex's 800 inhabitants was described as "unavoidable."

esidential block Hannibal in Dorstfeld Schacht characters Ruhr2010 Dortmund (imago stock&people)

A 2010 picture of the "Hannibal" apartment block in Dortmund

Dortmund's fire department said on Thursday that a large apartment complex needed to be evacuated immediately for "unavoidable" security reasons.

The evacuation was ordered due to "irrefutable fire safety reasons" in order to "protect the lives of residents," the city said in a statement.

In a press conference later on Thursday, city officials said fire safety measures in the building, referred to as "Hannibal 2," were significantly lacking. Authorities cited "a lack of fire safety in the underground parking garage" and "no emergency escape routes" as reasons for the evacuation.

City officials told reporters around 800 tenants in 450 apartments need to leave the large apartment complex on Thursday. They added that it was uncertain when the residents would be allowed to return to their apartments.

A reporter with DPA news agency saw around 100 residents standing outside the building, waiting for further instructions as to where they will be spending the night. Local daily newspaper Ruhr Nachrichten said the evacuation would begin in the evening and that the city will be sending the bill for the large evacuation to the building's owner.

Intown, the company that owns the "Hannibal 2" complex, also owns an apartment complex in the German city of Wuppertal that had to be evacuated in June for a lack of fire protection measures, reported DPA. Over 80 apartments in that building were evacuated. Residents were allowed to return to their homes a month later after flammable fake facades on the staircases and on the corridor walls were removed.

Safety concerns after London fire

Read more: Grenfell disaster highlights UK's infrastructure problems

In June, a massive fire at the Grenfell Tower apartment complex in London claimed at least 81 lives. One focus of the investigation is the role of combustible aluminum cladding that was recently installed during a renovation of the tower block.

rs/sms (AFP, AP, dpa)

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