New Zealand hostel fire leaves several dead

STORY: The blackened top floor facade was left behind by a deadly fire in New Zealand on Tuesday, the blaze scorched part of a hostel in the capital of Wellington and left several people dead.

It began just after midnight, at the 92-room Loafers Lodge in the suburb of Newton.

Firefighters brought it under control hours later, and New Zealand’s new prime minister Chris Hipkins arrived at the scene.

“Obviously it's quite confronting and also to speak to the first responders who were on the scene in terms of what they dealt with when they arrived in the small hours of the morning. Clearly a traumatic situation for them. I know they'll be feeling this at the moment. They just had a crew change, some of those people who were on the scene right at the beginning, they'll be getting a bit of a break now.”

Hipkins added investigations would take place to find out what caused the fire.

“In terms of some buildings, it's to do with the age profile of the building, the regulatory requirements around sprinklers do differ depending on the age of the building and so there'll be ample opportunity to look at that, of course.”

Authorities had officially confirmed a number of deaths by mid-Tuesday, local time.

But they expect the tally to rise with several people still missing.