Paris fire: Eight dead and many injured at apartment block

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Eight people including a baby have died in a fire at an eight-storey building in south-western Paris, fire service officials say.

Nearly 30 people – including six firefighters – were injured. One person is in a serious condition.

50 people were evacuated by ladders from the blaze in the upmarket 16th arrondissement.

The Paris prosecutor says it may have been deliberately started. Police have detained a female suspect.

While the fire was raging, a police source says she was suspected of trying to set fire to a car parked nearby. The suspect, who lived in the building, was reportedly drunk and is said to have justified her actions as the result of a conflict with a neighbour.

Housing Minister Julien Denormandie said the 40-year-old woman was known to psychiatric services.

The fire was brought under control after a five-hour operation, but the death toll could still increase, a fire service spokesman told the AFP news agency.

‘Apocalyptic situation’

The fire spread across the two floors of the 1970s building on Erlanger street shortly after 01:00 (00:00 GMT), forcing some residents to scramble on to nearby rooftops to escape the flames and smoke.

About 250 firefighters were deployed to the scene not far from the Bois de Boulogne park, helping to rescue those trapped on the roofs.

« When we arrived, we were faced with an apocalyptic situation. Lots of people were calling for help from the windows », the spokesman said.

Six firefighters are among the injured, reports French broadcaster BFMTV.

« The layout of this building – which is a modern residential building in a good state of repair – meant that the firefighters, and we must pay tribute to their professionalism, had to evacuate the victims from the facade of the building using ladders because it was impossible to get into the courtyard of the building, which is in the shape of an H, » Emmanuel Grégoire, Paris deputy mayor, told Reuters news agency.

Surrounding buildings in the area have been evacuated as a precaution. Town hall officials have been tasked with finding alternative accommodation, reports Le Parisien newspaper. Nearby roads have been blocked.

The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, has sent her condolences to the victims, and is on her way to the site.

The city council plans to honour the victims with a minute’s silence at 09:00.

Just a few weeks earlier, four people were killed after a huge blast at a bakery in the centre of the city.

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Source: BBC

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