Ten Including Children Dead In French Fire
Ten people, including five children, have been killed in a fire in an apartment building near Lyon, France, the local government says.
Officials released a statement saying a “sizeable fire” broke out in a seven-storey block of flats in Vaulx-en-Velin.
Four people are in a critical condition and 10 others reported minor injuries, including two firefighters.
The fire has been extinguished after it was battled by 170 firefighters.
Olivier Klein, the minister delegate of cities and housing for the Borne region, tweeted on Friday morning: “The provisional tally sends chills down your spine.”
The minister of the interior, Gerard Darmanin, said the cause of the fire is still unknown and praised the work of the firefighters who rescued people in “extremely difficult conditions”.
He added that the children who died were all aged between three and 15.
Mr Darmanin said that an inquiry into what sparked the fire would be launched later on Friday. He also said he spoke to French President Emmanuel Macron throughout the night.
A local resident told Le Progres de Lyon newspaper: “I was awakened by the screams… We wanted to help people but the smoke was too heavy. I saw a dead woman… It’s dramatic.”
Another neighbour said: “I told my kid not to go to school, he’s shocked. It traumatised him to hear screams like that, screams of horror. My legs are shaking.”
The block of flats where the fire broke out is part of a housing project in the Lyon suburbs. The flames appear to have started on the ground floor before spreading upwards.
The neighbourhood has had a poor reputation for problems of urban decay and crime, but is undergoing a multi-million euro renovation.