German police said on Tuesday (31 January) that the cause of death of six teenagers at a garden shed on Sunday, was carbon monoxide poisoning. The statement followed post-mortem examinations.

"The six adolescents... died from carbon monoxide poisoning. The cause of the leakage of the toxic gas remains under investigation," a police statement said.

The youngsters, aged between 18 and 19, were partying at the shed in Germany's Arnstein town the night before. The father of two teens — a girl and a boy — set out to search for his children on Sunday morning and discovered the bodies alongside four other teens.

Another father of a teen girl told police that his daughter was celebrating her 18th birthday in the garden shed before her death.

According to reports, police had earlier suspected that a possible overdose of drugs had caused the deaths. However, further investigation revealed that carbon monoxide poisoning likely killed the teenagers. Police found a wood-fire heater in the shed that had been used the previous evening.

Officials have yet to confirm whether the woodstove caused the deaths.

The deaths of the teenagers have shocked the locality of around 8,000 inhabitants.

Franz-Josef Sauer, the second mayor of Arnstein, told news agency DPA that he will focus on the victims' families, giving them the space they need. "We must also ensure that we support our city as well as possible," he said.

Locals have set aside an area in the church for flowers, candles and other tributes to the teenagers. A gathering for friends and relatives was also held there on Monday "for grief, remembrance and prayer".