7 die in fire at foreign workers housing in France

A fire early Sunday in a building housing immigrant workers has killed seven people, including two who jumped from the windows to try to escape, France's Immigration Ministry said. Some 90 other people were injured, of whom 11 are in life-threatening condition.

The office of Immigration and Integration Minister Eric Besson said most of the victims of the 2 a.m. blaze at the Fontaine d'Ouche residence, in the eastern city of Dijon, were killed by toxic fumes. Initial findings show the fire started in a garbage area beside the building and spread to an outside wall.

The prosecutor's office asked judicial police to investigate the cause of the blaze.

A ministry statement said the state-subsidized building housed single foreign workers and families, mostly from sub-Saharan Africa.

Two of the dead jumped from windows to escape the toxic fumes invading the 11-story building, the statement said. The others apparently were killed by the fumes.

The local prefecture said that 134 people were evacuated after the fire. About 90 were hospitalized with varying injuries. By midday Sunday 44 of those had been released, but 11 were still critically ill.