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9 die in fire at Belgium home for elderly

  • Story Highlights
  • Nine people die, three hospitalized from deadly blaze, authorities say
  • Fire occurred at elderly home in Melle, northwest of Brussels
  • Electrical device caused fire, government spokeswoman said
From Per Nyberg
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(CNN) -- Nine people died and three more were hospitalized after a fire ripped through an elderly home in northern Belgium Thursday night, a government spokeswoman said.

The fire started about 8 p.m. local time (6 p.m. GMT) in a first-floor room of the Kanumik Triest residential home in Melle, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) northwest of Brussels, said Judy Clement, spokeswoman for the regional government of East Flanders province, told CNN. It quickly spread through a window to other parts of the building.

Local authorities were on the scene Thursday night.

Clement said in a statement the fire was determined to have been caused by an electrical device.

"It was chaos when I was there," Clement told CNN. "People were still being evacuated and the entire first floor is destroyed. Lots of worried family members had gathered there outside, it was just chaos and lots of sadness," she said.

All remaining residents were evacuated from the home. Thirty people suffering from dementia were taken to nearby hospitals, and 50 others were taken to a gym, the statement said.

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