7 Dead, at Least 28 Injured in Paris Apartment Fire

February 5, 2019 Updated: February 5, 2019

The Paris fire service says seven people have been killed and at least 28 injured in a fire in a residential building.

The cause of the blaze is unclear. Firefighters are still searching for other victims and working to extinguish the blame, according to spokesman Clement Cognon of the city fire service.

He told The Associated Press that the fire broke out early on Feb. 5 in an eight-story apartment building on Rue Erlanger in the 16th arrondissement of western Paris.

He said firefighters rescued two dozen people who had fled to the roof or climbed out windows to escape the flames, and evacuated others from inside.

The firefighters said that the death or injury toll could increase as the fire is spreading to the seventh and eighth floors, The Guardian reported.

“We had to carry out many rescues, including some people who had taken refuge on the roofs,” said Fire Service spokesman Clement Cognon.

The fire crew had evacuated the street and people in the surrounding buildings by 3:30 a.m. local time while fighting the fire.

Fire service spokesman Clement Cognon speaks to the press after a building caught fire in the 16th arrondissement in Paris, on Feb. 5, 2019. (Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt/AFP/Getty Images)

French ‘Yellow Vests’ March Through Paris

French “yellow vests” march through Paris on Feb. 2, 2019. (Philippe Wojazer/Reuters)

PARIS—Several thousand “yellow vest” protesters marched through Paris and other French cities on Feb. 2 during the 12th weekend of action against the government, despite opinion polls pointing to a recovery in President Emmanuel Macron’s popularity.

The protests—named for the fluorescent jackets that French motorists are required to carry in their cars—began in mid-November over plans to raise fuel taxes before developing into a broader revolt against the government that mobilized tens of thousands of demonstrators nationwide each Saturday.

The government warned on Feb. 1 police wouldn’t hesitate to use flash balls in case of violence by demonstrators after it was authorized by France’s highest administrative court.

Protesters in Paris paid homage to those injured in the past months, denouncing the use of flash ball riot-control guns banned in much of Europe.

Between 10,000 and 13,800 protested in the capital according to police and independent media estimates. Riot police used tear gas to disperse some protesters who set trash cans and a scooter alight, although the situation remained relatively calm compared to previous weekends. Thousands also took to the streets in other cities, including Tours, Valence, Marseille, and Bordeaux.

About 1,000 police officers have been injured along with 1,700 demonstrators since the start of the protests, according to official figures.

“It’s true that this intermediate weapon can hurt, but faced with rioters, the police need it to defend themselves against those who attack them,” said Interior Minister Christophe Castaner.

Opinion polls show a recovery in Macron’s battered popularity rating after he launched consultations, including town hall debates, to try to quell social unrest.

As in previous weeks, protesters on Feb. 2 carried French flags and held signs attacking Macron as out of touch or calling for referendums tabled by citizens.

Protesters injured in previous weeks of violence were put at the front of the protests with some wearing eye patches with a target sign on them.

By Johnny Cotton

Reuters contributed to this article

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