At Least 20 Dead in Paris Hotel Fire

April 15, 2005

French authorities said at least 20 people died early Friday in a hotel fire. The Paris hotel was reportedly used to serve as a refuge for needy African families. Authorities reported at least 20 of the dead were children.

According to authorities, 11 people suffered serious injuries among the more than 50 people injured.

The blaze apparently started in a first-floor breakfast room of the one-star Paris Opera hotel in the capital’s 9th district, a popular tourist locale. French social services reportedly often place people in hotels while searching for longer-term housing solutions.

The fire reportedly took more than an hour to bring under control after 250 firefighters and 50 fire engines responded to the calls for help.

Judicial officials reported that the prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation into possible manslaughter charges being levied, although initial reports have said the fire was an accident.

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