The fire brigade is on the scene within six minutes - but they can no longer save three people. They died on Tuesday evening in a care facility for the mentally ill in Reutlingen (Baden-Württemberg).
According to previous knowledge, they died from smoke inhalation, reported the senior emergency doctor Jörg-Uwe Renz late Tuesday evening. And: Two other people were in mortal danger when they were rescued from the building.
Mayor speaks of "black evening"
"It's a black evening for Reutlingen," said Mayor Thomas Keck (SPD) at a press conference at the scene of the accident. The managing director of the facility, Gerhard Längle, adds: "It is simply a disaster."
According to the head of the fire brigade, the fire broke out in a living area on the first floor - and was limited to a patient room. "It was also an enormous psychological burden for the squads that were in there. We alerted our psychological aftercare," says Martin Reicherter.
The social-psychiatric nursing home is home to people with mental illnesses who also need nursing care. The description of the home operator on its website states that there are 38 residents in groups of eight people who live in six individual apartments.
The burning room was intensely hot
"When we reached the building door, a person with a soot-blackened face was already sitting outside and being looked after by the staff," reports Reicherter about the start of the operation. "They said: 'There's a fire on the first floor, there are still five children in there!'" The medical director of the facility says it is a facility that provides integration assistance for mentally ill people who are at least 50 years old. They live there long-term.
The fire brigade leader continues: "We then gradually sent in more troops. But the fire was actually as good as over." In the room where there was a fire, the lime and plaster had flaked off the ceiling down to the floor. This indicates that there was enormous heat.
Cause still unclear
The entire living area with several rooms was heavily sooty. During the operation, someone noticed himself at a window. "But the person was in a safe area and was being cared for there," said Reicherter.
The rescue service took care of eleven patients who "had no injuries," says the chief emergency doctor. To be on the safe side, however, they were taken to the central emergency room, where they are to be examined again - "so that no smoke inhalation is overlooked," as the doctor says.
The cause of the fire is still being determined. "We're still at the beginning," says a police spokesman in the evening. There is also no information on the identity of the three people who died.