6 Die in Retirement Home Fire in Southern France

December 15, 2011

The local government office says a fire in a retirement home in the southern French port city of Marseille has killed six people and injured 15 others.

The prefecture said the fire erupted overnight and was extinguished Wednesday morning.

Christophe Barret of the Marseille prosecutor’s office blamed the heavy toll on the fact that many of the residents were unable to move on their own and had to be individually evacuated.

He said the deaths and injuries were all due to the inhalation of smoke – some of which may have been toxic.

Government minister Roselyne Bachelot said the fire appeared to have been accidentally started by a resident who was using a cigarette lighter. An investigation has been opened.

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