According to the local government, ten people were killed in a fire in an apartment building near Lyon, France, including five children.
A “significant fire” broke out in a seven-story block of flats in the Vaulx-en-Velin suburb, according to officials.
Four people are in critical condition, and 15 others, including two firefighters, have minor injuries.
The fire is now out and prosecutors are investigating its cause.
The fire appears to have started on the ground floor and spread upwards.
“The screams woke me up… we wanted to help people, but the smoke was too thick. It’s dramatic, but I saw a dead woman “According to the newspaper Le Progres de Lyon, a local resident.
Another resident told AFP that his friends had rescued a 10-year-old boy who had been thrown from an upper-floor window by his mother.
The children who died, according to Interior Minister Gerard Darmanin, were all between the ages of three and fifteen.
He praised the firefighters for taking considerable risks by “climbing the building from the outside… saving children and babies up to the seventh floor”. He claimed that if not for their “heroism,” the death toll would have been much higher.
The flats where the fire started are part of a housing project in the Lyon suburbs. Lyon city authorities described it as “rundown” after it underwent emergency repairs in 2019.
Mr Darmanin stated that the area was well-known for drug dealing.
The area has a bad reputation for urban decay and crime, but it is undergoing a multi-million euro renovation.