Death Toll in Paris Hotel Fire Rises to 21

PARIS (AP) -- The death toll in a fire at an overcrowded budget hotel in the French capital climbed to 21 as investigators continued their probe into the cause, police said Saturday.

Rescue workers sifting through the debris from the fire at the Paris Opera hotel found the body of a woman on Friday night, police said. The victims in the pre-dawn Friday fire included 10 children.

Of the 53 injured, 11 were seriously hurt and treated in hospitals. Police have not released the identities or nationalities of the dead.

The injured came from France, Senegal, Portugal, Ivory Coast, Tunisia, Ukraine and Algeria, police said. A Canadian was slightly injured but released after hospital treatment, the Canadian Embassy said. Two other Canadians were unharmed.

The six-story hotel, known to have been overcrowded, mainly housed needy people, many of them Africans, placed there by state and city social services. Some tourists also were staying there at the time.

The fire is thought to have started in a breakfast room at 2:20 a.m. Friday. It quickly engulfed all floors of the hotel, with smoke and flames sweeping up the single stairwell. With only one exit and no way downstairs, guests were trapped. Many threw themselves from windows.

Investigators were probing the cause of the fire, the worst such blaze in recent years in Paris.

The Paris Opera hotel, with 32 rooms, was made to take in 61 guests, according to a police document with a technical description of the hotel. However, a count of those known to have been staying at the hotel puts the number of guests at 90 _ 84 of them placed there by social services.

Loading