Seven dead in blaze at French foreign-worker housing complexBy DPA, IANS
Sunday, November 14, 2010
PARIS - At least seven men died early Sunday in a blaze at a residence for foreign workers in eastern France.
Four people were also seriously injured, while another 130 sustained minor injuries.
“They are mostly people who had to be treated for smoke inhalation,” Jean-Louis Marc of the CODIS dispatch centre told journalists.
Three firefighters also received medical attention, he said.
The fire started around 1:30 a.m. (1230 GMT) in a refuse container outside the nine-storey building in the city of Dijon. Its cause was not immediately known. Prosecutors are investigating whether arson was involved or if the fire was an accident.
“Firefighters were called because a garbage bin on a public way was burning,” Marc said.
But when they arrived on the scene 10 minutes later, they found the whole facade of the building on fire, with flames rapidly eating their way through insulation. Some residents jumped out of windows in a desperate attempt to escape.
Thick smoke complicated the rescue effort, which involved just under 100 firefighters.
Authorities have set up a shelter in a gymnasium to house the residents evacuated from the building.
Unlike previous fires at French foreign-worker housing complexes, the building involved was a modern high rise, not a run-down or dilapidated dwelling.