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Blaze near French capital leaves five children fighting for their lives

Thomas SAMSON / AFP | Firefighters in Aubervilliers, a northern suburb of Paris, on August 19, 2018. Several police officers were also slightly hurt in the blaze.

A fire in a residential building near Paris on Sunday left seven people with serious injuries including five children who were in a "life-threatening" condition, firefighters said.

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Some 16 people including 10 police officers and a firefighter were also slightly hurt in the blaze in Aubervilliers, northeast of Paris, which was later brought under control, the fire service said.

The fire, which broke out at around 7pm Paris time on the top floor of the residential building, needed 100 firefighters to tackle it. The scores of firefighters battled to save the children.

According to a police source, people used windows to escape the flames while others sought refuge on the roof.

The cause of the blaze remains unknown, the fire service said.

Minister of the Interior Gérard Collomb confirmed that the fire was now under control and applauded the speedy response of the emergency services. Collomb added, "My first thoughts go to those who have been wounded and hospitalised".

This tragedy comes just one one month after a similar fire in Aubervilliers, which left a mother and her three children dead and nine others injured.

"Aubervilliers is once again touched by a serious fire," the town's mayor Meriem Derkaoui said on Twitter, adding that the site of the fire was a private residence but that the town needed to look into the conditions of its occupation.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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