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Six killed in blaze in Paris immigrant lodgings
Updated: 2005-08-30 14:34

Six people died and 14 were injured late on Monday when fire ripped through a rundown building in central Paris housing around a dozen immigrant families, the fire brigade and city officials said, reported Reuters.

Firefighters struggled for an hour to bring the blaze under control after it broke out in the stairwell of a building in the historic 3rd arrondissement of the French capital.

Three of those hurt were in a serious condition, the fire service said. Five firefighters were among the injured.

The blaze came just three days after 17 people, at least six of them children, died in a fire that destroyed a crowded apartment block also housing African immigrants, prompting a debate about fire safety and the government's housing policies.

Pierre Aidenbaum, mayor of the district where the latest fire broke out, told France Info radio the building had been occupied by around a dozen families from Ivory Coast, in West Africa. "These people were living in unacceptable and dangerous circumstances," he said, adding that the city authorities had launched steps in July to rehouse the families.

Thousands of immigrants and poor families live in run-down hotels or shabby buildings in Paris because of pressure on housing. The city authorities say more than 100,000 were looking for public housing in the capital last year. Some 12,000 homes were allocated last year.

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