INFERNO: 10 Dead; 1 Missing

( – HAPPENING NOW: Ten individuals died, and one is unaccounted for, following a blaze in a holiday residence for people with disabilities in north-east France.

Emergency responders found the deceased in the ravaged structure, formerly a barn. They expressed slim chances of locating the missing person alive.

The private gîte in Wintzenheim, Haut-Rhin, close to Colmar, was rented by a party from Nancy for vacation purposes.

The fire department’s Lt Col. Philippe Hauwiller noted that drones identified the bodies on the building’s first level.

Hauwiller remarked, “We arrived quickly, within a quarter of an hour, and the fire had spread throughout the building.” He continued, “Seventeen people had escaped but sadly given the situation, 11 people were still in the building for whom no action was possible.”

Due to the fire’s intensity, Hauwiller believed the casualties were likely deceased upon the firefighters’ arrival. He mentioned that the extensive damage to the gîte made body recovery challenging. He stated, “Everyone from the ground floor was able to escape but not everyone on the first floor could reach the exits.”

French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his condolences on Twitter, thinking of “the victims, the injured and their loved ones.”

The nation’s prime minister, Elisabeth Borne, was en route to Wintzenheim and anticipated to reach by Wednesday afternoon, as informed by Hauwiller.

Christophe Marot, a key figure at the Haut-Rhin prefecture and present during the unfortunate event, commented, “The search continues. We are almost sure that the missing persons have died.”

The fire reportedly ignited around 6:30 am local time. It was described as “very violent,” yet 76 firefighters promptly subdued it. Seventeen individuals were rescued from the property, and one received hospital care.

Those in the home were identified as persons with “minor mental disabilities.” Among the unaccounted for was a person who had joined the holiday group.

Gérald Darmanin, the interior minister, acknowledged the tragedy on Twitter: “A fire broke out early this morning in a building for [disabled] people at Wintzenheim in the Haut-Rhin. Despite the rapid and courageous intervention of firefighters, whom I salute, there were regrettably a number of victims.”

The Strasbourg gendarmerie has initiated an inquiry into the blaze’s cause.

The visiting group from Nancy had been in the location since July 29, with plans to remain until August 19.