Eleven people missing after fire at holiday home for disabled people in France

Eleven people are missing after a fire broke out in a holiday cottage welcoming disabled people in eastern France, in the town of Wintzenheim, local authorities said on Wednesday.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said there were likely several casualties after the fire ravaged 300 square meters of the 500-square meter building.

“Despite the rapid and courageous intervention of the fire department … several casualties are reported,” he said.

Rescue operations were still ongoing, he added.

Firefighters work to extinguish a fire which erupted at a home for disabled people in Wintzenheim near Colmar, eastern France

(AFP via Getty Images)

Seventeen people were evacuated, one of which was sent to hospital, the local prefecture said, adding that the eleven missing were adults, from a group of people from Nancy, also in eastern France.

The fire broke out at 06.30 am (0430GMT).

A total of 76 firefighters, four fire engines and four ambulances were deployed to contain the blaze and treat the victims. Forty police officers were also mobilised.

The fire was quickly brought under control, the statement added.

A total of 76 firefighters, four fire engines and four ambulances were deployed to contain the blaze

(AFP via Getty Images)

Firefighters said the blaze started on the ground floor of the building which is a renovated barn.

The secretary general of the Haut-Rhin prefecture, Christophe Marot, said: “The search is continuing. We are practically sure of the death of the missing people. We are being cautious until we have found all the bodies.”

Prime minster Élizabeth Borne said she is heading to the scene. She wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter: “Following the terrible fire that took place in Wintzenheim last night, I am going there with @auroreberge.

“My first thoughts are with the victims and their loved ones. I salute the mobilisation of the firefighters.”

French President Emmanuel Macron wrote: “In the face of this tragedy, my thoughts are with the victims, the injured and their families. Thank you to our security forces and emergency services.”

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