Paris, February 5: At least 10 people died and 30 were injured in an overnight blaze at an apartment block in Paris that police are treating as possible arson, officials said Tuesday.
The fire on the upper floors of the building in the rue Erlanger in the upmarket 16th district of southwest Paris is the most deadly in the capital since 2005.
Videos from the scene showed flames leaping out of top floor windows and firemen climbing flimsy ladders to rescue terrified residents, some dressed only in pyjamas, from the top of the eight-storey block.
Described by one rescue worker as a “scene of incredible violence”, the blaze left around 30 people — including six firefighters — injured and at least 10 people have died, the fire service said.
“One person who lives in the building has been arrested. She’s a 40-year-old woman who has prior psychological problems,” Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz said from the scene on Tuesday where smoke could still be seen rising from the area.
An investigation has been opened into the criminal charge of causing death by arson amid fears that the toll could climb further.
The fire started at about 1:00 am and was only brought under control more than five hours later by around 200 firefighters.
“At first we thought it was a fight, we could hear a woman screaming really loud,” a local resident who gave his name as Nicolas told AFP. (AFP)