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Suspected Paris arsonist transferred to psychiatric ward

Kenzo Tribouillard, AFP

A 36-year-old man detained by Paris police in connection with the blaze that killed eight people overnight Wednesday was transferred to a psychiatric ward on Thursday, according to a judicial source.

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The man was taken into custody on Wednesday hours after a fire ripped through an apartment building in the French capital’s northern 18th district. Eight people were killed in the blaze, including two children.

He was moved to the psychiatric wing of the police headquarters in the French capital, AFP reported.

The suspect had a candle and a lighter in his possession when he was stopped by police near the scene of the fire. His criminal record includes a history of burglaries, vandalism of private property and drugs offences.

Investigators said a man had been spotted running away from the building after the blaze, which took more than 100 firefighters to put out.

They believe the inferno – the deadliest in Paris since 2005 – may have been started deliberately.

Terrified residents jumped out of windows as flames engulfed their homes, which also caused damage to 15 nearby buildings.

Firefighters were first called to the scene at 2:23am on Wednesday and quickly put out the blaze, but they were called back again two hours later to extinguish a second, much larger fire.

In a statement, President François Hollande said: "Everything is being done to shed light on the cause of this tragedy."

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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