Fire at German disabled centre kills 14
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Fourteen people were killed and eight others injured Monday when a fire broke out at a workshop for the disabled in Germany's Black Forest region, authorities said. Scores had to be rescued from the building.
Over 100 firefighters were deployed to battle the flames at the complex in Titisee-Neustadt after the fire began early Monday afternoon, said Markus Straub, a spokesman for local firefighters.
Many ambulance workers were at the scene and smoke billowed from the windows of the three-storey centre.
The centre usually has around 120 people at any one time, said Mirko Steffl, a police spokesman in the nearby city of Freiburg.
It was not immediately clear how many people had to be rescued, but by late afternoon workers had determined that no one else remained trapped in the building, he said.
The centre, which employs people with either mental or physical disabilities in a variety of jobs including metalwork, woodwork and electrical installation, is run by the Catholic Church's Caritas organization.
"The biggest problem this afternoon was the smoke situation," said Alfred Oschwald, another Freiburg police spokesman. Smoke inhalation is believed to be the likely cause of the 14 deaths, he told broadcaster n-tv. Eight people were hurt, but none of them had life-threatening injuries, he said.
There was no immediate information on how the blaze started, police said.
"It is devastating. We now have to find out how it happened," mayor Armin Hinterseh was quoted by the local daily Badische Zeitung.
Chancellor Angela Merkel is "shocked" over the loss of so many lives, her spokesman said on Twitter.
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