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At least 17 killed in fire at Paris apartment building

PARIS -- A fire raced through an apartment building housing African immigrant families early this morning, killing at least 17 people, at least half of them children, police said.

About 30 people were injured, two seriously. Most of the dead were from the West African nation of Mali, officials said.

About 100 children and 30 adults lived in the building, mostly immigrants from Mali and neighboring Senegal, police said.

The fire brigade said the blaze broke out in the stairwell shortly after midnight and was brought under control two hours later. The cause of the fire was not immediately known.

Police cordoned off the area as more than 200 firefighters and dozens of ambulance workers went to work at the scene.

In April, a fire at a six-story Paris hotel killed 24 people, half of them children. The blaze at the hotel, which housed many immigrants, was one of the deadliest fires in the capital for years.

Police said later they had detained a young woman and that she had admitted accidentally causing the fire at the hotel, situated near the Galeries Lafayette luxury department store.

Material from Reuters was used in this report.

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