Paris Hotel Fire Kills at Least 20

People jumped from windows or screamed for rescue from flames Friday as a pre-dawn fire roared through a Paris hotel used by City Hall to house needy African families, officials said.

One of the Americans said they were on a school trip and were from the northern states of Wisconsin and Michigan. They were scheduled to return home later Friday, she said. She did not give her name, and the group's teachers would not let the pupils talk further to reporters. At least one of the students was still in her pyjamas, but others were fully dressed.

San, the neighbor, said he spoke to Australians, Canadians and Tunisians who escaped from the hotel. A woman who works in a nearby hotel brought out a ladder and together they used it to rescue a girl from the first floor, San.

''We got out a little girl. The fire services arrived just afterward,'' he said.


Associated Press writer John Leicester and Associated Press Television News producer Greg Somerville contributed to this report.