Woman arrested after Paris fire kills eight
Police treating blaze at apartment block in French capital’s 16th arrondissement as possible arson attack
A woman has been arrested after eight people died in a fire at an eight-storey apartment building in Paris.
A further 30 people, including six firefighters, were injured in the blaze, in the early hours of Tuesday in the French capital’s upmarket 16th arrondissement. One of the injured is in a serious condition, Sky News reports.
Pictures taken at the scene “showed flames leaping out of top floor windows and firefighters climbing ladders to rescue terrified residents from thick black smoke”, the broadcaster says.
Some residents in the apartment block “scrambled onto nearby roofs to escape the smoke and flames and were rescued by fire crews”, adds The Guardian.
Police confirmed that investigators suspected a “criminal” cause for the fire and said a woman was in custody.
According to the BBC, the woman was “suspected of trying to set fire to a car parked nearby” during the fire at the building, where she lived. The suspect is reported to have been drunk and to have justified her actions as “the result of a conflict with a neighbour”.
Around 250 firefighters battled the blaze for almost five hours before it was brought under control, said a fire service spokesperson, who warned that the death toll could rise.
Emmanuel Gregoire, an official with the city government, said the fire began on the upper floors and then spread.
“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,” Gregoire said.
All of the victims were residents, he added.
Emergency teams are working to ensure the building does not collapse as a result of the fire damage as firefighters continue to search the apartments for any further victims.