Man held after apartment blaze kills eight

Eight people have died in an apartment block fire in Paris.

Police have detained a man amid suspicions that the blaze, at the foot of the famed Montmartre hill, was started intentionally, officials said.

Some people died leaping out of windows to flee what appeared to be the deadliest blaze in Paris in a decade.

The dead included two children.

Four survivors were taken to hospital, said interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet.

Firefighters extinguished a small paper fire around midnight in the building, then were called back two hours later for a much bigger blaze, fire department spokesman Gabriel Plus said.

When the firefighters returned, Mr Plus said they were “immediately confronted with a disaster of an exceptional scale”.

People screamed for help from inside the building, several windows were blown out, and two people who had already jumped from windows were on the ground motionless, he said.

Mr Brandet said the fire began in a ground floor stairwell.

Mr Plus said it quickly engulfed all five floors of the building and consumed several apartments and the stairwell, forcing people to flee out of windows.

More than 100 firefighters were required to extinguish the blaze.

A man was detained on suspicion of involvement in the fire, the Paris prosecutor’s office said.

French president Francois Hollande issued a statement promising all necessary efforts “to shed light on the drama”.


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