Paris apartment fire kills five in Gennevilliers suburb

Scene of blaze in Gennevilliers, 2 Jan 13 Gennevilliers fire scene: It is not yet clear who the victims were

An apartment fire has killed a couple, their two children and a teenage friend in Gennevilliers, a deprived northern suburb of Paris.

The blaze happened early on Wednesday. The family lived in a flat on the fourth floor of the seven-storey block.

Eighteen people, including an infant, were hurt and most are now in hospital. About 100 firefighters tackled the fire, using a ladder to rescue people.

French media report that the building was in good condition.

The youngsters who died were aged 12, 15 and 18.

It is not yet clear how the fire started.

Two firefighters who suffered burns to their hands were among the 18 injured.

The fire broke out shortly after 04:00 local time (03:00 GMT) and was extinguished at about 06:00. It had engulfed two apartments, one above the other, but the firefighters managed to prevent it spreading further through the building.

French Interior Minister Manuel Valls, who visited the scene later with Housing Minister Cecile Duflot, said "we met a family devastated by grief, trying to comprehend what has happened".

A local resident interviewed by French TF1 television said the apartment block was "in very good condition".

The firefighters' spokesman Frederic Grosjean confirmed that "the block was in perfectly good shape - we had no difficulty getting access to the floors".

A second local witness told the television that he heard an explosion, then saw massive flames shooting upwards from the lower flat.

In 2005 there was an outcry over apartment fires in Paris which killed nearly 50 people living in overcrowded, dilapidated rooms.

More on This Story

More Europe stories


Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Audi R8Best in show

    BBC Autos takes a look at 10 of the most eye-catching new cars at the 2015 Geneva motor show


  • Kinetic sculpture violinClick Watch

    The "kinetic sculpture" that can replicate digital files and play them on a violin

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.