PARIS: A man jumped to his death from the third floor of a shelter for migrant workers in a Paris suburb, following an apparent arson attack that left several injured, police said Friday.
The fire caused panic at the six-storey building in the wealthy western suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt, prompting two people to jump out of a window, Eric Moulin, a spokesman for the fire service, said.
The police initially said 14 people were injured, three seriously, but later confirmed one death, and said two people were seriously injured.
A spokesman for the residents, Bakary Cissoko, said the victim was a Malian man in his forties, who jumped from the third floor into a courtyard. “He arrived in the shelter about four years ago,” Cissoko said.
A police source said the fire, which damaged the entrance area and a storage room but did not spread to the rooms, “appears to be criminal in nature.”
Traces of fuel and lighter fluid were found at the scene.
The home, which consists of two buildings, is run by the Coallia charity, which specializes in social housing.
On its website Coallia said the home, which also runs training programs for migrants, has 328 beds.
In the past few months there have been several attacks on migrant shelters in France, mostly targeting centers for asylum seekers relocated from makeshift camps and squats in the northern port of Calais or Paris. But there had been no injuries or fatalities in those attacks.
On Friday, authorities cleared another of the migrant camps that keep sprouting up in or around Paris.
Around 300 migrants—mostly Afghans, Sudanese or Eritreans—had been living in the tented camp in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis.
The settlement was situated a few hundred meters from a new refugee transit center set up by Paris city authorities to take asylum-seekers off the streets.
The center only has space for 400 people at a time. AFP