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130 refugees rescued as home goes up in flames

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130 refugees rescued as home goes up in flames
Firefighters work to put out the fire in Düsseldorf. Photo: DPA.
18:12 CEST+02:00
An entire 5,000 square-metre refugee home in Düsseldorf went up in flames while 130 people were inside on Tuesday.

Firefighters had to rescue 130 people from a massive refugee centre after the whole building was set ablaze on Tuesday at about 12.30pm.

Some of the residents there had awoken from their sleep to see the fire, but were soon evacuated by rescue services, according to the German Red Cross.

All those inside were rescued, though at least 26 of them were suffering from smoke intoxication, city officials said on Tuesday. A refugee centre worker and a firefighter were also injured.

Though the blaze was under control by the afternoon, authorities said firefighters could still be working into the night.

Residents of the refugee home were evacuated on Tuesday. Photo: DPA.

All of the residents were men, mostly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The centre is located not far from Düsseldorf airport, with images from the day capturing planes soaring through billows of black smoke.

The smoke did not disturb flights during the day, officials said, though fire fighters advised nearby residents to keep their windows and doors closed.

A stack of smoke over the refugee home in Düsseldorf as an airplane flies by. Photo: DPA.

Police are still investigating the cause of the fire, but two men were taken away in handcuffs by police, who said they were being questioned over the fire.

"We are checking if they have something to do with the fire," a police spokeswoman said.

One of the men handcuffed by police over the Düsseldorf fire on Tuesday. Photo: DPA.

North Rhine-Westphalia state authorities said the refugees would have a new place to stay by Tuesday evening.

German police reported last month that there has been a rising number of fires set at refugee homes so far this year, raising concerns about anti-immigrant violence.

A group of neo-Nazis faces charges for forming a terror group that planned to attack an asylum seeker home in Saxony with explosives.

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