Two dead and three injured in fire at house for homeless and refugees

A fire at a housing unit in southern Germany for homeless people and refugees killed two people and seriously injured three others early on Monday morning.

Two dead and three injured in fire at house for homeless and refugees
Firefighters at the scene in Markgröningen. Photo: DPA

Police were alerted at about 2am to the fire in a social housing unit in Markgröningen, outside of Stuttgart in Baden-Württemberg. A 54-year-old woman and a 56-year-old man died during the fire, most likely due to smoke inhalation, police said. Three other people were seriously injured.

Initial investigations suggest that the fire started in the kitchen of the building.

The housing unit serves ten residents, including homeless people and asylum seekers. Nine people were inside the building at the time of the fire.

Two men aged 45 and 60 had to be resuscitated by emergency workers, according to police. They were then brought to hospital with life-threatening injuries. The third person wounded in the fire was also taken to hospital.

The remaining residents were taken to a hotel nearby.

Firefighters were able to put out the fire on Monday morning.

The head of the fire department, Hans-Hermann Kefer, has so far ruled out the possibility that the fire was an attack on the building.

“The fragments fell very clearly from inside to the outside,” Kefer said.

Investigators say it appears that the fire started in a kitchen on the ground floor, and then the smoke spread to the rest of the house by wafting up the stairwell.

“The plaster from the walls was totally broken down, and the house was completely filled with smoke,” Kefer added.

“I assume that [the two] died due to smoke inhalation, not because of the fire.”

Around 150 emergency workers were at the scene on Monday morning. Kefer said he believed that the building would have to be completely refurbished, and police estimated the damage would amount to around €100,000.