June 7, 2016 / 1:18 PM / 2 years ago

Blaze hits German refugee center, residents safe: fire service

DUESSELDORF, Germany (Reuters) - A large fire ripped through a refugee center housed in an exhibition hall in the western German city of Duesseldorf on Tuesday, but all residents were brought to safety, a spokesman for the fire service said.

Fire and smoke are pictured at fair halls used as refugee camps in Duesseldof, Germany, June 7, 2016. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

TV footage showed plumes of black smoke billowing into the air at the facility on the site of the city’s trade fair.

The center is home to around 280 refugees but the fire service spokesman said they were not all in the building at the time of the blaze. He said 24 refugees had suffered from smoke poisoning.

The center has been ablaze since midday but the fire service brought the flames under control during the afternoon, though they may not be completely extinguished until late in the evening, the spokesman said.

It was not immediately known what caused the blaze, but a police spokesman said two refugees had been taken into custody and were being questioned. He declined to give further details.

Reporting by Matthias Inverardi; Writing by Caroline Copley and Michelle Martin; Editing by Gareth Jones

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