The gutted remains of a shelter for
homeless and poor families in northwest Poland April 13, 2009. (Xinhua/AFP
WARSAW, April 13 (Xinhua) -- At least 18 people were
killed and nearly 20 injured when a fire broke out in a homeless shelter in
northwestern Poland, Polish news agency PAP reported on Monday.
At least 77 people were staying in the three-story
hostel when the fire broke out around 1 a.m. Monday, Pawel Fratczak, spokesman
for Poland's national firefighters, was quoted.
Fratczak said 20 people, including a child, have been
taken to the nearby hospital. Many of those injured had leapt from the windows
and suffered bone fractures and other injuries after escaping the blaze.
Firefighters have extinguished the blaze and fire
investigators are sifting through the debris to establish the cause. It was not
immediately clear what caused the fire, according to the spokesman.
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has broken off his
Easter holiday to fly to Kamien Pomorski, 60 kilometers east of the German
border, to see the scale of the blaze and determine what help is needed, PAP
Government spokesman Pawel Gras said that the local authorities had initiated measures to ensure none of the survivors were left without a roof over their head.