Eight people have died in a fire at a building in south-western Paris, fire service officials say.

Nearly 30 people – including three firefighters – were injured. One person is in a serious condition.

The death toll could still increase because rescue operations were still in progress on the upper floors of the eight-storey building, a fire service spokesman told the AFP news agency.

It is not clear what caused the blaze in Paris’ upmarket 16th arrondissement.

A female suspect has been detained by the police. The Paris prosecutor, Rémi Heitz, says the fire may have been deliberately started.

‘Apocalyptic situation’
The fire spread across the two floors of the 1970s building on Monday night, forcing some residents to scramble onto nearby rooftops to escape the flames and smoke.

About 200 firefighters were deployed to the scene on Erlanger street, helping to rescue those trapped on the roofs. About 30 people were evacuated with ladders.

“When we arrived, we were faced with an apocalyptic situation. Lots of people were calling for help from the windows”, the spokesman said.

Six firefighters are among the injured, reports French broadcaster BFMTV.

Surrounding buildings in the upmarket area not far from the Eiffel Tower have been evacuated as a precaution. Town hall officials have been tasked with finding alternative accommodation, reports Le Parisien newspaper.

Nearby roads have been blocked as the rescue operation continues.

The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, has sent her condolences to the victims, and is on her way to the site.

A minute’s silence in honour of the victims has been planned by the city council at 10:00GMT.

Source: BBC

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