Disasters & Accidents

Suspect in deadly New Zealand hostel fire faces five murder charges

Sydney, Australia, June 1 (EFE).- New Zealand police Thursday filed five murder charges against a man who allegedly set a Wellington city hostel on fire last month.

The 48-year-old suspect, who is in custody on two counts of arson, now faces additional five murder charges, Wellington police said in a statement.

If found guilty, the man will face 14 years in jail for arson and life imprisonment for the murders.

The man, whose identity remained undisclosed, was arrested two days after the fire.

The police said they concluded their “extensive scene examination” and handed the building to the Fire and Emergency Department NZ (FENZ) on Thursday.

“Once FENZ have completed their work, the site will then be handed to Wellington City Council and the building owner,” it said.

The Loafers Lodge hostel had 92 rooms with communal lounges, laundry rooms, and kitchens on each of the three floors of accommodation above ground level.

Police initially put the death toll at six but lowered it to five on May 27.

New Zealand authorities confirmed the old building did not have sprinklers because the country’s building code does not require older buildings to have them retrofitted.

New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has ordered a review of building regulations for high-density accommodation. EFE


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