Germany: Fire at apartment building kills 8

7 children among those killed

Flames rise at a house in Backnang, Germany today.
Flames rise at a house in Backnang, Germany today.

BERLIN — An early-morning fire today at an apartment building in southwestern Germany left eight people dead, seven of them children, police said.

Three other people were injured in the fire in Backnang, a town near Stuttgart, and taken to hospitals. Police said the victims were of Turkish origin, news agency dpa reported; Turkey's ambassador to Germany planned to travel to the scene.

Authorities were alerted to the blaze at 4:30 a.m. (0330 GMT). Police said they believe the fire broke out in a second-floor apartment, and said in a statement that their investigation is focusing on a heater in the apartment.

The building is part of a former leather factory that was converted into a row of three-story apartment blocks. Police spokesman Klaus Hinderer told dpa that 13 people are registered as living in the two apartments worst affected by the fire, though it wasn't clear how many were there when the fire broke out.

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