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Friday, January 27, 2023

Lyon Apartment Fire Claims Ten Lives, 5 Children Dead

At around 3.25 am, about 170 firefighters and 65 fire vehicles had arrived at the spot

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FRANCE: Prosecutors in France are investigating the cause of an early-morning fire that destroyed a rundown seven-story apartment building in a suburb of Lyon, killing ten people, including five children.

Gérald Darmanin, the nation’s interior minister, stated at the scene of the fire on an estate in Vaulx-en-Velin that it was too early to speculate on what caused it. Still, he did acknowledge that the structure housed a squat and was a well-known hangout for drug traffickers.

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Darmanin commended the work of the firefighters, saying they arrived 12 minutes after being called shortly after 3 am and “were able to save 15 people by taking considerable risks to their own lives, scaling the building from the outside… saving children and babies.”

According to authorities, the fire injured 19 individuals, four of whom are still in serious condition in the hospital, and forced the relocation of roughly 100 residents. The five children that perished ranged in age from three to fifteen.

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In the Mas du Taureau neighborhood of Vaulx-en-Velin, a less affluent suburb of Lyon, the fire broke out on the bottom floor of a seven-story, privately owned 1960s apartment building. It quickly spread to the upper floors, filling the stairwells with smoke.

He claimed that, according to pals, they could save a 10-year-old youngster who had been dropped from an upper floor by his mother. 

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At 3.12 am, the fire was first reported to the emergency services. At around 3.25 am, about 170 firefighters and 65 fire vehicles had arrived. While battling the flames, two of the 170 firefighters on the scene received minor injuries.

The Lyon prosecutor’s office stated that it was open to all possibilities, including arson. Darmanin claimed that other building occupants had previously complained about drug dealing and squatters to the neighborhood watch.

A former industrial town about 5 km north of rich Lyon, Vaulx-en-Velin is home to 43,000 people, including many immigrant families. A third of the town’s population is considered to be in poverty.

It is dotted with public housing complexes and was the location of riots in 1990 after a young man was killed after being hit by a police car. Early in the new millennium, local authorities started a €100 million campaign to transform the region into an “eco-district.”

The building that caught fire had emergency repairs in 2019 but was deemed “rundown” by Lyon authorities, who designated it for reconstruction work in January, according to Olivier Klein, the housing minister, who also went to the scene.

Also Read: China: Following a Fatal Fire, Protests against COVID Curbs Erupt

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