A mother and her two children died and 28 others were injured Tuesday as a result of a fire that broke out in a four-storey apartment building in the western German city of Duisburg.
Police said the fire broke out at about 0330 GMT in the basement of the building and spread to the fourth floor before the fire brigade could contain it.
The bodies of a 33-year-old woman and her 8-year-old son were retrieved from the building, whilst her other 14-year-old child was rescued and brought to hospital but later succumbed to his injuries.
Witnesses said they saw a woman screaming from one of the upper floors. Police prevented her from jumping out of the window and she was rescued with a ladder.
Ralf Jaeger, the interior minister for the state of North-Rhine Westphalia, where Duisburg is located, travelled to the site and was briefed by rescue workers.
Jaeger told journalists that the fire had broken out inside an apartment and spread to the top floor.
Many of the victims were asleep and were caught unawares, he added.