Saturday, June 15, 2024

Police: fatal fire scene progress slow but ongoing

Wellington Police say progress is slow but ongoing in the scene examination of the fatal Loafers Lodge fire.

“Overnight weather has meant extra checks have been needed to ensure the safety of the building and areas where teams are working, and Police is working alongside Urban Search and Rescue to do this,” Acting Wellington District Commander, Inspector Dion Bennett said in a statement yesterday afternoon.

The detailed forensic scene examination is expected to extend well into this week.

“Meanwhile, the formal identification process of the victims recovered from the fire is moving swiftly. Police will provide updates as appropriate.”

Police have so far recovered and removed the bodies of five victims.

“As with the bodies of four other victims already recovered, the detailed process of formal identification is now underway,” said Commander Bennett.

“Our staff are also continuing to contact families of those who were staying at Loafers Lodge who have been accounted for, so we can reassure them their loved ones are safe,” he said.

The number of those accounted for remains at 99.

If you have made a report to Police of a missing loved one, and have since made contact with them, please get in touch with Police via 105 and quote Operation Rose.

A man was arrested and charged with two counts of arson over the fatal blaze. He is due to reappear in Wellington District Court on 19 June.

“We cannot rule out further, more serious charges,” said Commander Bennett.

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