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Germany: Fire at apartment building kills 8

Germany: Fire at apartment building kills 8

March 11th, 2013 in News

BERLIN (AP) - A fire broke out early Sunday at an apartment building in southwestern Germany, killing eight people - a woman and seven of her children, authorities said.

Three more people were rescued from the blazing building in Backnang, a town near Stuttgart, among them the children's grandmother. The family was of Turkish origin, and Turkey's ambassador to Germany headed to the scene.

Authorities were alerted to the blaze at 4:30 a.m. (0330 GMT). Once it had been brought under control, firefighters found the bodies of the 40-year-old woman and seven of her 10 children, aged between 6 months and 16, in two rooms of their second-floor apartment. The victims' names were not released.

Police and prosecutors said the fire almost certainly broke out in the apartment. They said in a statement that a heater was a focus of investigations, but another technical cause also was possible, and it could take days or weeks to pinpoint with certainty what started the blaze.

A German-Turkish cultural association has an office on the building's ground floor. Police said there was no indication that the fire might have been set deliberately or been a racist attack.

The building is part of a former leather factory that was converted into a row of three-story apartment blocks.

In Turkey, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said it was "a very sad incident."

"We want the incident to be investigated thoroughly without leaving any room for doubt," he said. "We hope that the fire is not the result of an arson attack."