500 refugees evacuated from Bulgaria’s Harmanli centre because of fire
Five hundred refugees were evacuated from Bulgaria’s Harmanli refugee centre because of a fire, Bulgarian National Radio said on January 31.
The fire broke out in a hall just after midnight, the report said. The likely cause was overloaded electrical wiring, BNR said.
People were moved to other accommodation, the head of the centre, Slavcho Yanev, told BNR.
Investigators were inspecting the premises ahead of repairs. Only two of the rooms at the centre were not fit for habitation. The rest would be cleaned so that those who had been evacuated could return to them.
Bulgaria’s Harmanli refugee centre was the scene of an uprising in November 2016 over poor conditions and overcrowding.
Prosecutors subsequently laid criminal charges against a number of people, including citizens of Afghanistan and Iraq, in connection with arson and vandalism during the riots. Bulgarian authorities also acted to move some of the residents of the centre elsewhere. A full timeline of events at the Harmanli migrant and refugee accommodation centre is available here.