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At least 6 dead, possibly more, in New Zealand hostel fire

The city of Wellington's fire chief described the tragedy as his 'worst nightmare,' as Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said 6 were confirmed dead.
At least 6 dead, possibly more, in New Zealand hostel fire
Posted at 4:38 PM, May 15, 2023

New Zealand's Prime Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed to the press that at least six people were confirmed dead after a fire burned through a four story youth hostel in the country's capital city of Wellington overnight on Tuesday. 

The New Zealand Herald reported that up to 10 people were believed to be dead, with up to 30 who were considered "unaccounted for."

Prime Minister Hipkins told a morning news program in New Zealand that he was given information and understands there are expected to be more casualties confirmed after the fire. Police did not confirm an exact number of dead. 

The Associated Press reported that police believe the number of dead to be under 10. 

Wellington Fire and Emergency District Manager Nick Pyatt called the tragedy "our worst nightmare."

Pyatt said,  "It doesn’t get worse than this."

The fire happened at Wellington's Loafers Lodge hostel just before 12:30 a.m. local time overnight into Tuesday. 

The fire was described by officials as being heavily concentrated on the building's top floor.

The New Zealand Herald reported that the hostel could have up to 92 people residing there at any given time, but it was not clear how many guests the hostel was accommodating at the time of the fire.

It is not yet known what caused the fire.

Pyatt told the Herald, "I can sadly report that this will be a multi-fatality incident. Our thoughts at this time are with the families of those who have perished and with our crews who valiantly rescued those and attempted to rescue those that they couldn’t."

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