Nine dead, two missing in France holiday home fire ‘tragedy’


WINTZENHEIM – Nine bodies were found and two people were missing Wednesday after a fire in France tore through holiday lodging for a group of adults with learning disabilities, an incident the president called a “tragedy”.

The fire at the timbered residence in the eastern town of Wintzenheim struck deep in the night with those on the upper floor unable to react fast enough to save their lives.

The secretary general of the Haut-Rhin prefecture in eastern France, Christophe Marot, said there was “little doubt” the missing had been in the burning building and had not been able to escape.

The fire, which came at the height of the nation’s summer holiday season, is the deadliest in France since a blaze at a bar in the northern city of Rouen in 2016 killed 14 people.

“We have located nine bodies and we are still looking for two,” Philippe Hauwiller, who is leading the fire brigade search operation, told AFP.

With the complex search efforts ongoing, he added: “The difficulty lies in accessing the affected levels, since there is a lot of rubble, a lot of collapsed parts and the stability of the floor is very uncertain.”

The local fire service told AFP authorities were alerted about the blaze in Wintzenheim, just outside the city of Colmar in the eastern Alsace region, at around 6:30 am (0430 GMT).__The Nation