Five found dead, including toddler, in suspected French family row

French firefighters found five people dead, including a toddler, on Tuesday after a suspected domestic dispute in an apartment in the southwestern city of Pau.

Five found dead, including toddler, in suspected French family row
Illustration photo: AFP

The fire service was called to the apartment in the centre of Pau at 6:40 am (0440 GMT) after neighbours saw smoke coming from it.

A neighbour “was concerned after seeing blood running down the edge of one of the apartment's windows” and tried unsuccessfully to open the door of the first-floor apartment, the emergency services said.

“I saw blood trickling (from the window) on the street side,” another neighbour who was among around 20 residents evacuated from the four-storey building told AFP.

The neighbour said that a French man and his Spanish wife were living in the apartment with their two-year-old child and that the woman's parents had been visiting from Spain.

“A big argument broke out at around 5:00 am and I heard a child crying,” she said.

Inside the firefighters found the bodies of two couples and the child, and a couch ablaze.

A source close to the inquiry told AFP the young woman was “bound and gagged with tape around her neck.” 

The bodies of her parents also bore signs of violence, investigators said. 

The child appeared to have died from smoke inhalation. 

The victims had yet to be identified.

Jean-Paul Brin, a deputy to the mayor of the city which lies at the foot of the Pyrenees, confirmed that investigators were leaning towards a family dispute.

A colleague of the young woman, who was a teacher, was quoted by the regional Sud Ouest newspaper as saying she had recently made a complaint to police about her husband's violent behaviour.

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Fire ravages building near Paris opera house

Police in the French capital have advised people to avoid the Boulevard des Capucines, near Place de l'Opéra, after a building caught fire.

A large fire has broken out near Paris' Place de l'Opéra. Emergency services say to avoid the area.
A large fire has broken out near Paris' Place de l'Opéra (Photo by JOEL SAGET / AFP)

A large building has caught fire on the Boulevard des Capucines in Paris’ 9th arrondissement. 

Images posted on social media show plumes of black smoke coming out of the old haussmanian building as fire engines attend to the blaze.

It is not yet clear what the cause of the fire was. 

French police have advised the public to stay away from the area to allow access for fire engines. 

We will be updating this story as we get more information.