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Dozens saved as huge refugee home burns to ground

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Dozens saved as huge refugee home burns to ground
Firefighters stand in the burned-out shell of the inflatable tent. Photo: DPA
08:20 CEST+02:00
A large temporary refugee home in western Germany was completely burned down on Monday night, but a prompt evacuation allowed all the inhabitants to escape unharmed.

“We can be thankful that despite the large fire no-one was hurt,” said Karin Welge, a city official responsible for social affairs and the fire service in Gelsenkirchen, North Rhine-Westphalia.

Police reported that they were alerted to the fire in the large inflatable tent, designed to house 90 people, at around 9:40 pm.

Security guards at the accommodation centre spotted the fire quickly and were able to evacuate the 41 people inside at the time.

Witnesses said that the fire started inside the tent and spread quickly.

Around 50 firefighters rushed to the scene to fight the blaze, but although they quickly brought it under control there was no way to stop the tent being completely burned down.

The inhabitants were later brought to another refugee centre in Gelsenkirchen by bus.

Police have now begun investigating the cause of the fire, but there were no immediate leads on Tuesday morning.

Federal investigators recorded more than 1,000 attacks on refugee homes in 2015.

Due to the nature of the crimes, the people behind such attacks are often difficult to track down and few perpetrators have been brought to justice.

Other refugee homes have seen fires break out by accident, while there was even one case of a refugee starting a fire in a hotel and leaving false clues pointing to far-right attackers in what he called a protest at his living conditions.

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