At least 14 people have been killed and many others injured in a fire at a workshop employing disabled people in southwestern Germany. The cause of the fire was not immediately clear.
Emergency workers from throughout the region Monday responded to the blaze. Firefighters wearing breathing equipment pulled a number of the survivors from the burning building in the town of Titisee-Neustadt.
Police set up a gathering point at a neighboring trucking firm, where the survivors were being treated by doctors and ambulance staff. Several helicopters were used to transport some of the injured to hospitals. Psychologists were also sent to the scene to care for traumatized survivors.
It took firefighters about two hours to extinguish the fire.
The premier of the state of Baden-Württemberg flew by helicopter to the scene shortly after learning of the tragedy.
"My thoughts are with the victims and I express my deep sympathies to their families," Premier Winfried Kretschmann told reporters. "All of Baden-Württemberg is mourning along with them."
While the cause of the blaze was not immediately clear, local media reported that it appears to have been started by an explosion in a storeroom. A police spokesman said he could not confirm this but that an investigation had been launched.
Around 120 mentally or physically challenged people worked at the facility run by the Catholic charity Caritas. It employs them in a number of jobs including metalwork, woodwork and electrical installation work.
pfd/dr (dpa, KNA, EPD)