Loafers Lodge fire: Wellington Police name first victims of hostel tragedy

Wellington Police have named the first victims formally identified after the Loafers Lodge tragedy in Newtown.

Acting Wellington District Commander Inspector Dion Bennett said police have now formally identified three victims.

The first has been revealed as Michael Wahrlich, age 67, of Wellington.

Wahrlich, known to many as Mike the Juggler, was famous for juggling tennis balls on Lambton Quay.

Police extend their sincere condolences to his whānau and friends.

In a statement released by his family, they said they were "devastated" to hear his life was taken in this terrible tragedy.

"He always enjoyed entertaining the people of Wellington and will be sadly missed by the family and all who knew him."

Michael Wahrlich and Peter Glenn O'Sullivan.
Michael Wahrlich and Peter Glenn O'Sullivan. Photo credit: NZ Police / Supplied

The second was Peter Glenn O'Sullivan, age 64. The third was Melvin Joseph Parun, age 68.

Police also extend their sincere condolences to their whānau and friends.

Insp Bennett added the formal identification process continues for two further victims and police are making "good progress" covering the ground in the building as they continue with the scene examination.

"The northbound lane of Adelaide Rd remains closed at this time. We are grateful for the public's patience while we carry out critical work at the scene which requires the continued closure of the northbound land."

He added the scene examination will continue until it is completed.