10 died in apartment block fire

10 people, including five children, have died after a fire broke out in an apartment building located in Vaulx-en-Velin, near the city of Lyon.

Four people are reported as being in critical condition and 10 others have reported minor injuries with two firefighters among them. The fire was finally extinguished after the intervention of dozens of firefighters.

Emergency services – ambulances and fire crews – were sent to the site after the alarm was raised around 3am local time on Friday morning.

According to the Lyon and Rhone regional authority, the case of the fire is not yet known at this stage.

French interior minister Gérald Darmanin, who headed to the scene, reported the cause of the fire as being unknown and praised the firefighters for working in “extremely difficult conditions”.

“We do not know the cause of the fire … there are several scenarios and a probe will be opened,” Darmanin told reporters, acknowledging that some of the victims were between three years and 15 years old.

Mr Darmanin went on to say that an investigation would determine the cause of the fire, and that he said spoken to French President Emmanuel Macron throughout the night.

The apartment block where the fire broke out is part of a housing project in the Lyon suburbs as it is currently undergoing a multi-million euro expansion as one of several deprived areas in the Lyon suburbs. The city launched an EU€100 million programme in the early 2000s to develop shops and public transport.

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