March 29, 2019 / 10:19 AM / 23 days ago

Fire in Turkish capital kills five Afghan workers

ANKARA (Reuters) - Five Afghan workers were killed and eleven others were injured as a result of a fire in an abandoned three-story building in the Turkish capital Ankara early on Friday morning.

President Tayyip Erdogan said later on Friday the building in which the fire broke out was abandoned and uninhabitable, and Ankara Governor Vasip Sahin told state media that the cause of the fire had not been determined yet.

Footage from the site of the fire showed the front of the building had been burnt black, while the windows of the already damaged building had been broken. Firefighters, police officers and emergency teams were at the site to examine the damage, the footage showed.

Burak Burhan Biyikli, a local resident who knew the victims, said the building was used by refugees in Ankara as shelter and as a storage unit for scrap paper that they collected and later sold. He said he believed the cause of the fire was due to an electric fuse.

“They are refugees, poor people sheltering in our country because of the war in Afghanistan. These people have to support their lives somehow, so they sought shelter in our country,” Biyikli said.

“Why would someone collect paper from the trash if it weren’t for poverty?” he said, as authorities cordoned off the site behind him.

The death toll in the fire may increase, local news agencies said, adding that efforts to identify the victims were underway.

Reporting by Mert Ozkan; Writing by Ece Toksabay; Editing by Tuvan Gumrukcu

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