Two men arrested over refugee centre fire

Two men arrested over refugee centre fire
Photo: SIS/Ville de Genève/File
Two people have been arrested on suspicion of intentionally setting a fire at a centre for asylum seekers in the canton of Geneva that left one man dead and 40 others injured earlier this month, according to a report.

The Tribune de Genève newspaper said it learned on Tuesday that the two men have been placed in temporary detention while an investigation into the deadly blaze continues.

A 29-year-old Eritrean refugee died from smoke inhalation in the fire that broke out on the night of November 16th at the Tattes centre for asylum seekers in the municipality of Vernier.

Eleven of the 40 men injured suffered serious wounds and two remain in hospital, the Tribune said.

Numerous occupants of the building jumped from windows to escape the fire, according to local media reports.

The building was occupied by 189 single men who have either been refused asylum or are awaiting a decision on their application to be accepted into the country.

They have been transferred temporarily to a civil protection shelter while renovations to the fire-damaged building are undertaken.

The building is expected to be usable again by mid-December, an official told the Tribune.

It is part of a complex originally built in 1967 to house seasonal workers.

The 12 buildings have been used to accommodate refugees — both families and individuals — since 1994.

Residents at the centre have complained about over-crowded conditions at the centre in the wake of increased numbers of asylum seekers.

According to earlier media reports, 660 people were living in facilities designed to accommodate 450. 

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