Four people, including an infant and another child, were killed in a dramatic major fire in an old building in Solingen on Monday morning. The four victims were a family, a city spokeswoman confirmed. “It is a day of mourning for our entire city,” said Solingen Mayor Tim Kurzbach. According to the city of Solingen, nine people were taken to hospitals with injuries of varying severity.

The fire probably broke out on the first floor of the approximately 100-year-old house with a wooden staircase and spread rapidly, said a fire department spokesman. By mid-morning, around 120 emergency services had the fire under control, but extinguishing work was still ongoing. The cause of fire was unclear for the moment.

To escape the flames, several people jumped out of upstairs windows into the street, the city said. One person landed on a car roof even though the fire department had just set up a jumping cushion.

The advancing firefighters discovered the dead in the attic of the four-story house, the spokesman said. The house was massively destroyed in the fire and the stairwell partially collapsed.

The fire was reported to the fire department at 2:47 a.m., the city said. The emergency services were at the scene of the fire within six minutes. When they arrived, the wooden stairwell was “red-hot and fully ablaze,” said the operations manager. The escape route was “completely burned away”.

The city had assigned a bus to quickly accommodate uninjured residents, he said. Emergency chaplains looked after residents and firefighters.