A fire broke out Monday at a workshop for disabled people in southwestern Germany, killing 14 people and injuring at least six others, authorities said.

Markus Straub, a spokesman for local firefighters, said there was no immediate information on why the building in Titisee-Neustadt, a town in the Black Forest near the city of Freiburg, caught fire in the afternoon.

The centre employs some 120 people with either mental or physical disabilities in a variety of jobs including metal work, wood work and electrical installation, according to the facility's website.

There are usually 100 to 120 people in the building at any one time, police spokesman Karl-Heinz Schmid told Suedwestrundfunk radio.

The facility is run by the Catholic Church's Caritas organization.

Straub said some 100 firefighters were deployed to battle the flames.

The town's mayor Armin Hinterseh said the centre's buildings were quite new. "It is devastating. We now have to find out how it happened," he was quoted as saying by local daily newspaper Badische Zeitung.