April 15, 2005 in Nation/World

Hotel fire kills at least 13

Jamey Keaten Associated Press

PARIS – A fire roared through a central Paris hotel early Friday, killing at least 13 people and injuring dozens more, fire officials said. Some people leapt from windows to escape the flames.

The fire gutted the budget Paris Opera hotel in the capital’s 9th district, an area frequented by tourists. At least 57 people were injured, 12 seriously, said fire services spokesman Laurent Vibert.

Firefighters rescued some people from the hotel, but others jumped out of windows to escape flames and choking smoke, said Vibert.

Chakib San, who lives in an adjacent building, said he was awakened by cries of “Fire! Fire!” He said he saw three people jump from the building, including a woman and a child who lay motionless after hitting the ground.

“They were on the ground. They weren’t moving,” he said.

“Everyone was screaming,” he added. “There were bodies in the road.”

The fire took more than an hour to bring under control and was still smoldering hours later. Some 250 firefighters and 50 fire engines responded.

Nearly all of the six or seven floors were blackened inside. Vibert said Paris City Hall used the hotel to accommodate people before they were moved to subsidized housing.

San said he spoke to Australians, Canadians and Tunisians who escaped the fire. A woman who works in a nearby hotel brought out a ladder and together they used it to rescue a girl from the first floor, said San.

“We got out a little girl. The fire services arrived just afterward,” he said.

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