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Blaze at migrant center in Bosnia leaves 32 injured

Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina  — A fire engulfed a migrant center in northwestern Bosnia on Saturday, injuring 32 people, police said. Some were forced to jump out the windows to escape the blaze.

The blaze erupted early in the morning in the center in Velika Kladusa, which hosts some 500 migrants who have become stuck in the impoverished Balkan country while trying to move toward wealthier nations in Western Europe. 

The fire was likely an accident and started from a cooking device, said local police spokesman Ale Siljdedic. It spread swiftly, sending the migrants fleeing the building, with some jumping to safety out the windows, Siljdedic said. The fire was put out after several hours.

BOSNIA-FIRE-MIGRANTS
A picture taken on June 1, 2019 shows the aftermath of a fire in a shelter for migrants in the town of Velika Kladusa. STR/AFP/Getty

Thirteen migrants remain hospitalized with injuries such as burns or fractures, he said. The International Organisation for Migration, which runs the center, said none of the injuries were life-threatening, Reuters reported.

Several thousand migrants fleeing war and poverty in their countries have been passing through Bosnia toward the West. They mostly flock to the northwest, which borders European Union member Croatia.