Suspected arson attack at Paris apartment kills 10, woman arrested

PARIS-- At least ten people have died after a fire swept through an apartment block in central Paris in the middle of the night, Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz said early Tuesday, adding that the fire may have been started maliciously.

At least 30 people, including three firefighters, suffered minor injuries. One person was seriously injured.

Heitz said a 40-year-old woman, who lived in the building, had been taken into custody, and an inquest has been opened. The woman was believed to have psychological problems.

Firefighters are still working to control the fire on the the top two floors of the eight-story building and searching for residents, fire service spokesman Clement Cognon told AFP, adding that the death toll could rise.

The fire started at around 1 a.m. local time Tuesday on the Rue Erlanger in the city's 16th arrondisement, and sent some residents fleeing onto adjoining rooftops.

"We had to carry out many (residents), including some people who had taken refuge on the roofs," Cognon said.

Around 30 people were evacuated from the building using ladders. Two neighboring buildings were evacuated as a precaution.

French mayor Anne Hidalgo tweeted her sympathies after learning the news.

"Paris is mourning this morning after the ferocious fire in a building in the 16th arrondissement. The toll is terrible: at least 7 Parisians lost their lives, about thirty of them are injured."

She and Interior Minister Christophe Castaner attended the scene early Tuesday morning.

By 4 a.m. local time, the building had been cleared, although some 200 firefighters remained on the scene battling the blaze.

The cause of the fire is currently unknown.

Paris' upmarket 16th arrondisement is located west of the city center and features numerous notable landmarks, including the Trocadero gardens, with their views of the Eiffel Tower, the Roland Garros stadium that hosts the French tennis tournament, soccer team Paris Saint Germain's home ground, the Parc des Princes, and, on its western edge, the sprawling Bois de Boulogne public park.

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