21 Killed in Polish Homeless Shelter Fire

20 injured in blaze; cause unknown
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Apr 13, 2009 7:42 AM CDT
20 were injured in the blaze at a Polish hostel sheltering the homeless.   (BBC video)
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(Newser) – A fire at a Polish hostel for the homeless has killed at least 21 people and injured 20 more, many of whom jumped three stories to escape the flames, the BBC reports. Emergency teams are on the scene, as is the prime minister, assessing damages and offering comfort. Some 77 people were registered to stay at the hostel in the northwestern town while they waited for government housing help.

“The help will be full and will ensure the housing needs of those who survived this disaster,” PM Donald Tusk said. The fire’s cause is unknown, but it began early this morning and “spread at an incredible speed,” said a local emergency worker. “Firefighters had to catch children thrown through windows by their parents,” and others had to jump because firefighters’ ladders hadn’t reached high enough.