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11 killed in fire at Austrian retirement home

At least 11 people have been killed and six seriously injured in a fire at a retirement home in western Austria.
By DPA | None, Vienna
UPDATED ON FEB 09, 2008 11:02 AM IST

At least 11 people have been killed and six seriously injured in a fire at a retirement home in western Austria near the German and Swiss borders, ORF radio reported.

The fire broke out in a room near the chapel around 7 pm (18.00 GMT) on Friday and quickly spread through the building that houses 24 senior citizens in Egg town near Bregenz in Vorarlberg state.

Fire department officials said smoke was pouring out of the 140-year-old building's second and third floors when they arrived and it took three hours to extinguish the flames. About 250 fire fighters rushed to the scene.

Emergency personnel brought 23 people, including residents and staff members, to safety. The injured were being treated at a temporary crisis-intervention centre set up at a nearby school.

Only six people were totally uninjured in the incident, a fire department spokesman said. The 11 who were killed likely died of smoke inhalation.

Austrian Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer and the state governor arrived in Egg Friday evening to survey the damage.

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