Ten people including five children aged three to 15 were killed in a fire on Friday that engulfed a residential building in an impoverished town near the southeastern French city of Lyon.
Another four people were seriously injured in the blaze in Vaulx-en-Velin, which started around 3 a.m. (0200 GMT) on the ground floor before spreading up the seven-storey building, rescue authorities told local media.
The flames were later extinguished.
Footage on social media showed a huge, dark cloud billowing above the building earlier in the day. “I was woken up by the screams,” a neighbour, Mohamed, told Le Progres de Lyon daily. “We wanted to help people but the smoke was too thick.”
Other witnesses quoted by local media said a woman had tossed her child down to a crowd, which had gathered outside and managed to catch him. She then jumped out of the window to escape the fire and smoke and fell to her death.
The Lyon prosecutor’s office opened an investigation to determine how the fire broke out, and said it could not rule out any hypothesis including arson.