Deadly fire engulfs Paris building, 1 arrested

Paris building fire

Paris building fire

Eight people have died in a fire that tore through an eight-storey apartment building in a wealthy Paris neighbourhood in the early hours of Tuesday, the fire service said.

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Remy Heitz, the Paris prosecutor, said that a "40-year-old woman who has prior psychological problems" had been arrested "apparently in a drunken state" at the scene after trying to set light to a auto.

Fire service spokesman Clement Cognon speaks to the press after a building caught fire in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, on February 5, 2019.

The apartment fire started on the second floor of the building and spread quickly with firefighters taking around five hours to get the blaze under control.

Several streets were cordoned off by police and fire crews, and an AFP journalist said a strong smell of smoke hung in the air.

One other person was in life-threatening condition and at least 31 others were injured, including six firefighters, authorities said.

President Emmanuel Macron wrote on Twitter, translated from French to English, that his country "is waking up with emotion after the fire in rue Erlanger in Paris last night". "It's a woman. She's now in custody", Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz said from the scene on Tuesday morning where smoke could still be seen rising from the area. "About 30 people were evacuated on the ladders", said Captain Cognon.

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Prosecutor Remy Heitz told reporters at the scene that authorities suspect it was a criminal act. Speaking alongside Heitz and Castaner at an impromptu press conference, Hidalgo said the building was very hard for fire ambulances to access, and had at least 50 apartments.

"She wished me good luck. then I smelled smoke and realised she had set the entire floor on fire", he told the paper, asking not to be identified by name.

"When we arrived, we were faced with an apocalyptic situation". 'What's surprising is how long it lasted'.

Castaner said the woman who was detained had "a history of psychiatric problems".

The fire comes a month after a deadly explosion and blaze linked to a gas leak in a Paris bakery.

The residential neighbourhood lies on the edge of the vast Bois de Bologne park and close to the stadium of top football club Paris Saint-Germain, the Parc des Princes, in the southwest of the city.

"We had to carry out many rescues, including some people who had taken refuge on the roofs", fire service spokesman Clement Cognon told the AFP news agency.

The worst fire in Paris since World War II was in April of the same year when 24 people perished inside a building used for temporary accommodation after a fight between two residents.

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