Six dead in Switzerland apartment fire

A police spokeswoman told AFP that the fire in the building, in the centre of town, had been extinguished, and that a number of those evacuated remained in hospital.

Six dead in Switzerland apartment fire

Six people, including children, died when a fire broke out overnight in an apartment building in the northwestern Swiss town of Solothurn, police said Monday, with neighbours indicating the building housed asylum seekers.

"There were more than 20 people in the building. Most were evacuated by the fire brigade, but for six people, including children, the help came too late," Solothurn police said in a statement.

"They died on the spot."

She would not say how many children were among the dead or injured, or provide more information about the identity of those affected.

But neighbours were quoted by several media outlets suggesting that asylum seekers were living in the building. A local cafe owner told AFP he believed they were mainly Eritreans.

An AFP photographer said the building was intact but from the outside all of the apartments looked blackened by smoke and fire.

Police said it remained unclear what sparked the blaze.

"A resident noticed smoke at 2:10 am (0110 GMT) in the stairwell and sounded the alarm," the police statement said, adding that dozens of firefighters, along with police, ambulances and other rescue services were immediately dispatched to the building.