11 persons missing, as fire guts home of PWDs in France

The bodies of 11 people have been found after fire broke out at a holiday home for persons with disability in the Haut-Rhin department town of Wintzenheim, in eastern France, local authorities say.

Chief fire commander in Wintzenheim and head of rescue operations, Philippe Hauwiller, said 17 other persons were led to safety with one person taken to hospital in a “relative emergency”.

“We are looking for the bodies of those who could not leave the building,” he said.

Local authorities in Haut-Rhin said the fire was quickly brought under control despite the “violent flames” as fire and rescue services deployed 76 firefighters, four fire engines and four ambulances.

Some 40 police officers were also sent to the scene.

Local authorities say the holiday home in Wintzenheim, which is close to the border with Germany, was rented by a charity that takes care of people with learning disabilitie.

Authorities also said those missing were from a group of people from the city of Nancy, a two-hour drive away.

French President, Emmanuel Macron called the fire a “tragedy” and said his thoughts are with the victims, the injured and their families as he thanked emergency services.

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