A total of three Nigerians lost their lives in the French southern city of Marseille this past Saturday when a fire broke out in a public housing building where they were squatting.
The victims, reported to be aged 20 to 30, jumped to their death from the windows of the 10-storey building, in an attempt to escape the burning flames.
AFP news agency reports that a two-year-old and an adult were also seriously hurt in the blaze inside the ten-floor building, Marseille public prosecutor, Dominique Laurens, said.
The child was very seriously burned, while nine other people reportedly sustained less serious injuries
Speaking during a press briefing, Laurens said the fire spread quickly through the technical shafts, but did not reach the apartments which are “free of smoke penetration,” suggesting the blaze was started deliberately.
The existence of two fires, one on the sixth floor, the other in the stairwell” prompted investigators to launch a criminal investigation,” the public prosecutor added.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian community of Marseille accused drug dealers of causing the tragedy.
“The dealers terrify us. They have guns. They prevent us from sleeping,” Azeke Endurance, 30, told AFP.