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UK police probe blaze in southeastern England
From:Xinhua  |  2021-01-30 21:11

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LONDON, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) -- British police have launched an investigation into a fire which broke out on Friday afternoon at a barracks in Kent in southeastern England, where the British government is holding hundreds of asylum seekers, local media reported Saturday.

Asylum seekers have been temporarily moved from the barracks, which was also recently the site of a major outbreak of coronavirus, the London-based Evening Standard newspaper reported.

Video footage from the scene at the barracks showed heavy smoke and flames on Friday afternoon amid the sound of alarms, said the newspaper.

British Home Secretary Priti Patel has issued a statement to slam the "appalling" damage.

According to the police, there have been no reported injuries and enquiries remain ongoing to determine the cause of the fire and establish whether any offences have been committed.

There have been reports of suicide attempts at the barracks and more than 18,000 people signed a petition to shut the site down amid concerns over conditions inside, said the newspaper.

The military site has been used to house about 400 asylum seekers since September last year, despite concerns over conditions.

Fears for their welfare escalated this week after 120 people are believed to have tested positive for COVID-19, said the newspaper. Enditem