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Germany: Child dead after fire at Thuringia refugee shelter

June 4, 2023

Police said the cause of the fire in the state of Thuringia is unclear. Around 245 residents were registered at the shelter, and they were later relocated to a neighboring town accompanied by police.

Firefighters extinguishing a fire at a refugee shelter in Apolda, Thuringia
Police are investigating the cause of the fireImage: Johannes Krey/dpa/picture alliance

A child has died and 10 other people were injured after a fire tore through a refugee shelter in Germany on Sunday.

The fire broke out at 5 a.m. local time (0300 UTC) in Apolda, in the eastern state of Thuringia, police said.

Eyewitnesses said the flames were several meters high.

A district administration office said 245 people were registered at the refugee shelter, which is now uninhabitable.

Police said the cause of the fire is unclear and a criminal investigation was being carried out "at full speed."

Such investigations are standard practice after deadly fires and do not indicate suspicion of any criminal activity.

Children and police officers stand outside the burnt refugee shelter in Apolda
Officials said 245 people were registered at the refugee shelterImage: Michael Reichel/dpa/picture alliance

Residents relocated, boy reported missing

Residents of the shelter who were rescued by firefighters were taken to another refugee reception center in nearby Hermsdorf. They were accompanied by police officers and interpreters.

Ten people were taken to hospital. Some of them suffered from smoke inhalation while one person had a broken leg, local media reported.

A 9-year-old boy from Ukraine was reported missing. Authorities said forensic analysis will be needed to determine whether the body found inside the building is the missing boy. Police expected the results of the autopsy on Monday at the earliest.

Officials offer support

Thuringia Interior Minister Georg Maier expressed dismay at the "terrible news" in Apolda.

"My thoughts are with the parents and relatives of the dead child," he said.

The state's migration minister, Doreen Denstädt, also visited the site to meet with victims and police.

Meanwhile, federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said federal security authorities are ready to assist state authorities.

zc/nm (dpa, epd, AP)