Saturday 25 March 2017

Man arrested after eight, including two children, die in Paris blaze

Rescue workers outside an apartment where eight people died in a fire (AP)
Rescue workers outside an apartment where eight people died in a fire (AP)

David Kearns

French police have arrested a man suspected of starting an apartment fire that killed eight people, including two children, in northern Paris.

The apartment block blaze in the 18th district of the French capital broke out in the early hours of Wednesday and took more than 100 firefighters to bring it under control.

The AFP press agency is reporting that the suspect was found with "a candle and lighter".

The French website TF1 adds that the man in his 30s was already known to the police.

People stand in the street below as flames and smoke billow out of the window of an apartment building Credit: JEAN-RAPHAEL BOURGE/AFP/Getty Images
People stand in the street below as flames and smoke billow out of the window of an apartment building Credit: JEAN-RAPHAEL BOURGE/AFP/Getty Images
A firefighter climbs up a ladder as flames and smoke billow out of a window Credit: JEAN-RAPHAEL BOURGE/AFP/Getty Images

Four survivors of the fire remain in hospital, two in a ‘critical’ condition.

Police sources say that the arrest was made on the basis of eyewitness testimony and CCTV footage.

The cause of the fire in the building at 4 rue Myrha, located at the foot of the famed Montmartre hill, is being investigated by criminal prosecutors.

Fire crews were first called to the scene at about 2:20 am local time and quickly put out the blaze, but they were then called back again two hours later to extinguish a second, much larger fire.

The larger blaze is believed to have started on the ground floor before quickly spreading into the stairwell and then upper floors.

The fire, one of the deadliest fires in the French capital in the last decade, broke out in a private building, not a block of flats for low-income families, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said.

In a statement, French President Francois Hollande said: "Everything is being done to shed light on the cause of this tragedy."

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