New Zealand police charge man with arson in connection with hostel fire

Written by on May 18, 2023

Police in New Zealand have charged a man with arson in connection with a fire at an emergency housing that left at least six people dead.

The suspect will appear at Wellington District Court on Friday.

Officials say up to 20 people are still missing after Tuesday’s fire at the Loafers Lodge hostel in Wellington.

Authorities say the death toll may rise, since the building is so damaged that a thorough search has not yet been possible.

The blaze at the four-storey Loafers Lodge hostel broke out shortly after midnight local time (12:30 GMT Monday), forcing residents to the rooftop, and some to jump from windows.

The 92-room hostel was known to house residents from vulnerable and marginalized communities including those on welfare and disability pensions as well as workers from the city’s main hospital.

New Zealand is in the midst of a housing crisis brought on by high rents, high house prices, and a shortage of state housing.

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