Firefighters treating survivors of a blaze that killed 15 people Sunday at a housing project were pelted with stones by youths complaining of a tardy response, in what the mayor called a "night of horror."
Police said it appeared local youths were to blame for the pre-dawn fire in the 19-story project south of Paris -- the third deadly blaze in the Paris area in the past nine days. The dead included three children. Arson was suspected in the two earlier fires as well.
Residents screamed and leapt from windows in the fire, which Mayor Patrick Seve said began around 1 a.m. in the town of L'Hay-les-Roses, near Orly airport.
As dozens of firefighters rushed to the scene, youths, apparently angry about what they considered a slow response from rescue teams, threw rocks at them, the mayor said. Rescue squads said they responded in about 15 minutes.
"The firefighters were getting hit by stones while they were conducting heart massages," the mayor said. Officials said at least five people were revived after suffering heart attacks, and one woman gave birth after being rescued.
Most of those who died had tried to flee through the entrance hall but were met with 570-degree temperatures and smoke, the mayor said.
The inferno broke out near residents' mailboxes, swept into the stairwell and raced up at least three floors, damaging several apartments, firefighters said.
About 500 residents were in the low-cost housing project at the start of the blaze, and those who stayed in their apartments were not hurt. Authorities evacuated the building and prepared temporary lodging for the survivors.
The fire Sunday was the fourth deadly blaze since April. The government has announced plans for new housing and the eviction of squatters from buildings considered dangerous.
Authorities are investigating possible arson in an Aug. 26 fire that killed 14 African children and three adults in a run-down apartment building. Three days later, another fire killed seven in a building used by squatters.
Thousands of people marched Saturday in Paris to demand better housing for the poor and condemn the eviction plans.