A mother and her seven children, aged between two and 14, have died after a fire broke out on Sunday night while they were sleeping in their home in northern France, police and firefighters said.
The fire, the deadliest of its kind in France for a decade, broke out shortly after midnight at the family home in the town of Charly-sur-Marne, about 80km east of Paris.
The source of the fire was apparently a malfunctioning clothes dryer on the ground floor of the house, he said.
Neighbors called the fire department to report the fire.
The woman’s husband, father of three of the children, was badly burned and taken to hospital, they said.
His life was saved by a firefighter who lives nearby and he intervened before his colleagues arrived.
Among the children were five girls and two boys. Four of them were from their mother’s previous relationship.
The father appears to have tried to put out the fire as the children and their mother took refuge from the flames on the second floor of the house, but that step turned out to be a trap, said local prosecutor Julien Morino-Ros.
As black smoke filled the house, firefighters struggled to get ladders to the upper windows of the house, which sits on a narrow street in the center of the village of 2,600.
The home’s electric shutters were jammed due to a power outage, further hampering relief efforts, he said.
A total of 80 firefighters were called to the scene and the blaze was put out after several hours, local authorities said.
The tragedy was the worst since 2013, when five children aged between two and nine were killed in an accidental fire, also in northern France.
Tell us your thoughts in the Facebook post and share this with your friends.