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  Asylum seekers escape during blaze
Updated 15 February 2002, 07.47
Fire at Yarl's Wood asylum seekers detention centre in Beds
A massive fire has broken out after a riot at a detention centre for asylum seekers.

An asylum seeker is someone who has left their own country and wants to move to another country, where they will be protected.

An unknown number of asylum seekers have escaped in the chaos caused by the fire at the Yarl's Wood centre in north Bedfordshire.

Bedford map
There were around 400 people staying at the centre.

Battling the blaze

It's thought some of the people who escaped had their application to stay in Britain turned down, and they were due to be sent back to their own countries.

There are reports the riot started because staff handcuffed a woman asylum seeker who needed medical help.

Hundreds of firefighters are battling to get the blaze under control.

People who live nearby have been told to lock their doors.

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