Wellington, May 16 (BNA): A fire at a New Zealand motel has killed at least six people, and officials said they believe the death toll could rise with 11 people still missing.
Police said the fire broke out on the top floor of the Loafers Lodge in the Wellington neighborhood of Newtown just after midnight, causing significant structural damage that is hampering recovery efforts.
There’s a significant amount of debris from the roof collapse, but at this point we’ve located six people,” Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) Incident Commander Bruce Stubbs said at a news conference.
The cause of the fire is unknown.
This is the once-in-a-decade Wellington fire. It’s our worst nightmare,” Finns Wellington District Commander Nick Pyatt said in a statement.
Investigations are underway to find out what caused the fire, according to Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ).
Police said they will not have more information until it is safe to enter the 92-room building.
Dion Bennett, the acting police chief for the Wellington area where the fire started, said the force was operating under the assumption that fewer than 10 people were dead, but that others from the building were still missing.
He said we have yet to completely reconcile the list of all the people who were here last night who should be here or who were here as visitors.