Wednesday, 2 September 2015

News:Fire in central Paris killed at least eight people

French police have launched a criminal investigation after a fire in a residential building in the north of Paris left at least eight people dead in one of the city’s worst fires for a decade.

According to GUARDIAN The fire began overnight in a five-storey residential building in the Goutte d’Or neighbourhood in the north of the city, killing at least eight, including reportedly two children.

The eight victims included two who died after they attempted to escape through windows, according to police. At least four others were left injured and in a critical condition.

Pierre-Henry Brandet of the French interior ministry confirmed that a criminal investigation was underway and that “the possibility of a malicious act is one element being explored by police”.

The investigation was launched after it emerged that there had been two different fires, one which began at around 2am and was put out, and another which started at around 4.30am, according to French media reports.

Gabriel Plus of the Paris fire service told Le Parisien that the fire brigade had attended two call-outs at the same address overnight, the first of which was at 2.23am for a fire in which paper was burning in the hallway.

“This was rapidly put out, but nearly two hours later we were called out again to a fire, this time in the stairwell.” He said the possibility of a “malicious act” could not be ruled out.

The second fire is believed to have started on the ground floor before spreading into the stairwell.
At the height of the blaze, around 100 firefighters were on the scene, at rue Myrha in the 18th arrondissement. The fire service declared that it had the blaze under control at around 7.30 am (05.30 GMT).

Local residents posted images of the fire, showing flames bursting from the roof and upper storeys of the building. One neighbour who had witnessed the fire told iTele: “It was violent. I’ve never seen anything like that, except on television.”
French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve and the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, were at the scene early on Wednesday morning as the city woke to news of the fatalities.

Cazeneuve told reporters it was “too early to determine the causes of this tragedy” and said an investigation by criminal prosecutors was underway.

“Paris is bereaved this morning,” Hidalgo said, adding that as many as 15 properties might have been damaged in the blaze.

She said the building had been in a good condition before the fire. The property was a residential building which had not had problems before, Hidalgo said, adding that it was not a building for low-income families and had not been in an insalubrious state.

People who were unable to return to their homes were being assisted by the authorities, the mayor said.

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