Picture: YOUTUBE
Picture: YOUTUBE

Paris — Flames tore through an apartment block in Paris, killing 10 residents early on Tuesday, after what prosecutors said looked like an arson attack.

Police said they arrested a 40-year-old woman who lived in the upmarket building on suspicion of starting the blaze.

Firefighters in breathing apparatus scaled ladders to rescue people stranded on balconies on the eight-storey block on Rue Erlanger. Some were lowered  on ropes and one person abseiled to safety.

Franceinfo radio reported that a child was among the dead, although there was no official confirmation. Another 36 people were injured, including firefighters, authorities said.

Rescue crews edged along outer ledges as colleagues sprayed water on to the upper levels of the building. Firefighters escorted residents down smoke-filled passageways and evacuated people from neighbouring buildings, TV footage showed.

The fire started on the upper floors after midnight and was under control by mid-morning, officials said.

Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz said investigators believed the fire was started deliberately and a woman had been detained. He said the woman had mental health issues.

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo wrote on Twitter that the city was in mourning after the fire, which came less than a month after a gas blast in the capital killed four people.