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At least eight people died and thirty were injured after a fire at a home for people with learning disabilities in a western Czech town early Sunday, rescuers said.
"A total of 38 people were affected by the fire, of them eight unfortunately died," emergency services spokesman Prokop Volenik told the media.
He said 30 people were taken to hospital — one in critical condition, three with serious injuries and 26 with light or no injuries.
Czech media said the fire which was now under control was reported at 0349 GMT.
"The fire broke out in the boys' section of a home for the mentally handicapped," said Jitka Gavdunova, the mayor of Vejprty, a small town on the German border some 100 kilometres (60 miles) northwest of Prague.
Originally, rescuers said the fire had occurred at a nearby home for the elderly.
"It's insane, we're swamped with phone calls from the relatives of the pensioners," said Gavdunova.
Volenik said it was too early to talk about the causes of the blaze.
He added seven ambulance units including two German ones had been deployed.
Czech media said rescue helicopters were grounded by bad weather in the mountainous region.
Residents said the fire started on the 15th floor and a big column of black smoke soon enveloped the building. More than 90 people escaped the building on their own or helped by neighbours, they said.
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