ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A house fire in northwestern Turkey believed to have been caused by a heater has left eight children and a woman dead, an official said Wednesday. The victims were Syrian refugees.
The fire broke out late on Tuesday in the first floor of a four-story building in the Yildirim district in Bursa province, Gov. Yakup Canbolat said.
The victims were six siblings aged between 1 and 10, their 31-year-old mother and two cousins aged 10 and 11.
Their father, who was not at home when the fire broke out, tried to rescue his family members but was affected by the smoke and hospitalized, according to the governor.
“Our fire extinguishing teams immediately rushed to the area and tried to put out the fire, but unfortunately, after the fire was extinguished, the picture (they saw) inside was saddening. We were deeply saddened,” Canbolat said.
“It’s a huge heartbreak. It’s impossible to describe,” he added.
A preliminary inspection of the scene indicates that the fire was caused by a stove heater, Canbolat said.
Three neighbors were also hospitalized for smoke inhalation.
Turkey is home to 3.7 million refugees from Syria.