National | Coroner's Office

Coroner, emergency services, mayor give update on Loafers Lodge fire

Fire and Emergency, Police, Chief Coroner Judge Anna Tutton and Wellington Mayor Tory Whanau this afternoon fronted media in an update on the Loafers Lodge fire that took six lives and left 11 people unaccounted for.

After acknowledging FENZ’s efforts while working through the fire, acting police district commander for Wellington Dion Bennett said damage to the building was extensive.

"We anticipate police will enter the building at some stage tomorrow, midmorning to midday,” to begin the investigation process and extensive scene examination.

"We would ask that people don't speculate.

"At this time, the fire is unexplained."

It is not known how many people were inside the building during the fire, as police continue to work to find people.

The confirmed death toll remains at six.

Time needed for identification

"Legally, the bodies of the victims of this tragedy are in the custody of the coroner. Once recovery of the victims' bodies is possible, they will be treated with respect," Judge Tutton said.

Time would be needed to identify the bodies.

"We know families will be desperate to have their loved ones back. But we have to get it right. The last thing we want is for families to be further traumatised.

"Again, I want to reassure the whanau and friends of people lost in the tragedy, that the people you loved and cared for will be treated with dignity."

Structural damage included a roof collapse on the top floor where there was a “significant amount of debris”.

Mayor Whanau (Pakakohi, Ngāruahine) said about 50 people were displaced by the fire, and were in a mixture of temporary accommodations.

Six staff were working on those missing.

"We've released a mayoral relief fund. We're asking the general public if they'd like to contribute,” Whanau says.

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