At least six people have reportedly died after a fire erupted inside a hostel in New Zealand’s capital city of Wellington early Tuesday local time.
“I have had varying reports, I understand six confirmed previously and it looks like there are likely to be more,” New Zealand’s Prime Minister Chris Hipkins told CNN affiliate Newshub.
Firefighters rushed to the hostel shortly after midnight and were able to evacuate 52 people, Wellington’s Fire and Emergency District Manager Nick Pyatt told local media.
Five others were taken to the hospital, but dozens more remain unaccounted for, he also said.
“I can sadly report that this will be a multi-fatality incident. Our thoughts are with the families of those who have perished and with our crews who valiantly rescue those and attempted to rescue those that they couldn’t,” Pyatt said during a press conference.
According to authorities, about 100 people were believed to be inside the building, Newshub reports.
“Many of the tenants there are shift workers at the hospital. This is making it difficult for emergency services to know exactly who was there at the time the blaze broke-out.” Newshub reported.
The cause of the fire remains unknown, Pyatt said, adding that there will be a formal investigation into the blaze.