Paris suburb hit by second housing fire in a month | News | DW | 19.08.2018
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Paris suburb hit by second housing fire in a month

Less than a month after a mother and her three children died in a fire, a hundred firefighters tackled another blaze in the same Parisian suburb of Aubervilliers. The cause of the apartment fire is not yet known.

Firefighters battled a blaze in the northern Paris suburb of Aubervilliers on Sunday, the second such fire this month.

They bought the fire under control after an operation lasting half an hour, but seven people, including five children, were seriously injured — the children are in a life threatening condition.

Fifteen other people were slightly injured, including 10 police officers. The fire appears to have started in the attic of the two-storey building. Some people escaped through windows, while others sought safety on the roof. 

Black smoke rises from a burning apartment, in Aubervilliers, north-eastern suburbs of Paris, on July 26, 2018

A fire in Aubervilliers in July took the lives of a woman and her three children

It was the second fire in Aubervilliers since July 30 when a fire on the 17th floor of a housing complex led to the deaths of a mother and her three children. Nine people were also injured.

A 10-year-old child was suspected of having caused the July fire after playing with a lighter and a piece of cloth. The child was indicted on charges of arson causing death, but held to be not criminally responsible on account of their age. However, the commune did order the child to leave the Aubervilliers area.

Under French law, children can be tried if judges consider they were aware of what they were doing, but they can not be given criminal sentences. They can however be subject to educational measures and penalties.

Crime in Aubervilliers

The suburb to the north east of the French capital has a commercial district known for the import and export of clothing items. Many of the wholesale vendors are ethnic Chinese. In August 2016 textile designer Chaoling Zhang and a friend were attacked during the day on a street in Aubervilliers by three men who tried to steal their belongings. Zhang died after five days in a coma.

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Gangs target Asian immigrants in France

Zhang's death came amid a spate of mugging and attacks and led to a protest march in Paris by thousands of people from France's 600,000-strong Chinese community. Authorities then held a series of meetings with Chinese community leaders to improve policing in the area.

In December, 2015 a teacher at a nursery school in Aubervilliers claimed to have been attacked with a knife by a man claiming to follow the "Islamic State" (IS). However, he later admitted having fabricated the story. 

jm/aw (AFP, Reuters)

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Editor's note: The original version of this story incorrectly treated the teacher's claims of a knife attack by an IS follower as accurate. We apologize for the error. (Story altered on 22.08.2018.)

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