PARIS — A fire tore through an apartment building in the early hours of Friday morning near Lyon in central France and killed at least 10 people, including five children, the local authorities said.
Over 160 firefighters and more than 60 fire engines rushed to the scene of the fire, which started around 3 a.m. in a seven-floor building in Vaulx-en-Velin, a northeastern suburb of Lyon, the prefecture for the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region said in a statement.
Four people were also seriously hurt in the blaze, and 10 others, including two firefighters, suffered lighter injuries, the prefecture said. Firefighters managed to extinguish the fire, but it was not immediately clear how it had started, the prefecture added.
Gérald Darmanin, France’s interior minister, said the authorities did not expect the toll to rise. The children killed in the fire were aged 3 to 15 years old, he said.
“They tried to save as many people as possible, in very difficult conditions,” said Mr. Darmanin, speaking to reporters in Paris, of the firefighters who battled the blaze. “It’s obviously shocking, given the very heavy toll.”
Mr. Darmanin said that he had briefed President Emmanuel Macron and that he would head to the site of the fire just outside Lyon, France’s third-largest city, later on Friday with Olivier Klein, the French minister for housing. On Twitter, Mr. Klein said that the toll was “chilling.”
An occupant of the building told the BFMTV news channel that his 10-year-old son woke him up around 3 a.m. when he heard screaming.
“There was a dad who was shouting ‘My kids, my kids, save my kids,’” the resident, who was identified only as Rida, told the news channel.
“It’s really tragic, it’s a shock, my legs are shaking,” he added. “We all know each other.”