PARIS : At least 10 people were killed and 37 injured after a fast-moving fire that may have been intentionally set coursed through an eight-story building in a residential part of western Paris on Tuesday.
The police opened a criminal investigation, the authorities were treating the fire as a possible case of arson. Rémy Heitz, the Paris prosecutor, told reporters early Tuesday that a 40-year-old woman living in the building had been taken into custody.
“This person was arrested overnight, not far from the scene, not far from the fire,” Mr. Heitz said. He said that the woman had a history of mental health issues but did not provide more details about her identity or the reasons for her arrest.
Firefighters responded to the fire in the apartment building on Rue Erlanger, in the 16th Arrondissement, around 1 a.m., according to Capt. Valérian Fuet, a spokesman for the Paris Fire Department.
Over 200 firefighters worked for hours until the blaze was finally put out between 6 and 7 a.m., Captain Fuet said, adding that one person was seriously injured and that eight firefighters were among those who had suffered lighter injuries.
About 50 people were evacuated from the building, he said, as were people in neighboring structures who were told to leave as a precaution. Those who had died appeared to have been burned or inhaled the smoke.
Captain Fuet told reporters later Tuesday that the blaze had spread very rapidly,adding that the fire had started in a part of an apartment complex that opens onto a courtyard rather than the street, preventing the firefighters from using mechanical ladders from their trucks, and forcing them instead to use hand ladders to evacuate residents.
Firefighters were still searching for survivors and assessing damage, including a potential risk that the seventh and eighth floors might collapse, Captain Fuet said.
Julien Denormandie, the French minister in charge of housing, told reporters at the scene that the building was about 50 years old and was not known to be at risk.
President Emmanuel Macron said in a message on Twitter that his thoughts were with the victims of the fire, and he thanked the firefighters “whose bravery made it possible to save many lives.”