A dozen of families lived in the building, where the conditions were characterized as absolutely inadmissible
A fire tore through a rundown Paris apartment building where African immigrants lived, killing seven people including a 6-year-old child, firefighters said Tuesday. The latest fire comes just days after a deadly blaze killed 17 Africans in the French capital. Only four months earlier, 24 people died in a similar fire at a budget hotel where African immigrants lived.
Two other people were seriously injured in the latest fire, which started late Monday and ripped through a six-story building in central Paris where Ivorian immigrants lived, firefighters said. About 130 firefighters battled the blaze, which burned in a central district of Paris. The fire was believed to have started on the second floor of the building. The cause was not immediately known.
A dozen families from the Ivory Coast lived in the building, where the conditions were known by authorities to be "absolutely inadmissible and dangerous," said Pierre Aidenbaum, the district mayor.
A larger number of families, about 25, lived in the building, which was taken over by squatters, Deputy Paris Mayor Yves Contassot said. About half the families were illegal immigrants, he said. A woman who lived in a nearby building, Elisabeth Sevre, said the tenants were living in "frightening conditions" and that she often saw them taking water from a spigot on the street.
On Friday, 14 children and three adults were killed in a blaze in southeastern Paris at a rundown apartment building that housed African immigrants. The fire focused attention on the plight of poor immigrants in Paris and drew angry calls for action on behalf of the needy.
French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy pointed to overcrowding as a reason for the high death toll of that blaze and ordered an inventory of dangerous and overcrowded buildings. The country "can't accept that those who live on France's territory ... live in such conditions," former Prime Minister Edouard Balladur said.