PARIS (AP) — A fire ripped through a vacation home for adult people with disabilities in eastern France on Wednesday, killing nine people while two others are believed to have died, the head of rescue operations said.

Lieutenant-Colonel Philippe Hauwiller, who is leading the firefighters’ rescue operation, said, “We are currently searching for the bodies… two remain to be found.”

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said on X, formerly known as Twitter, that she was heading to the site of the fire.

The local administration of the Haut-Rhin region said the fire broke out at 6:30 a.m. in private accommodation in the town of Wintzenheim. Seventeen people were evacuated, including one person with serious injuries who was sent to a hospital.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.


Christophe Marot, the secretary general of the local administration, said on news broadcaster France Info the group includes adults with “slight intellectual disabilities.” He said that 10 disabled people and one person accompanying the group are believed to be among the dead.

The group usually lives in the city of Nancy, in eastern France, the statement from the Haut-Rhin prefecture said. “The building was being used … for their vacation,” it added.

The fire department deployed 76 firefighters, four fire engines and four ambulances to contain the blaze and treat the victims. Forty police officers were also mobilized.

The fire was brought under control, the statement said.

French President Emmanuel Macron wrote on X : “In the face of this tragedy, my thoughts are with the victims, the injured and their families. Thank you to our security forces and emergency services.”

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