The blaze in the French capital’s high-end 16th arrondissement on Tuesday has also left at least 31 people – including six firefighters – with minor injuries.
About 200 firefighters battled the blaze, which started at about 1am local time (midnight GMT), and was extinguished after several hours. Firefighters described the area as a “scene of incredible violence”.
“I heard a woman screaming in the street, crying for help,” a witness
Jacqueline Ravier, who lives across the street from the apartment building, told the Associated Press news agency.
She said shaken residents were evacuated and brought to her building and the one adjacent to it.
Ravier described seeing “a young man in his underwear”, blackened by smoke, and a woman motionless on the ground outside.
“One person has been arrested. It’s a woman. She’s currently in custody,” Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz said from the scene on Tuesday morning.
An investigation has been opened into the criminal charge of causing death by arson.
The area in the capital’s southwest is popular with tourists and overlooks landmarks including the Trocadero, Eiffel Tower, Paris Saint-Germain’s home stadium the Parc des Princes, the picturesque Bois de Bologne and an array of upmarket shops and restaurants.
“We had to carry out many rescues, including some people who had taken refuge on the roofs. Thirty people were evacuated on ladders,” fire service spokesperson Captain Clement Cognon told AFP news agency at the scene.
Several streets of the chic neighbourhood were cordoned off by police and fire crews.
In late December, two women and two girls died from asphyxiation in a fire that broke out in a public housing block in a suburb northeast of Paris.
In January a gas explosion followed by a fire at bakery killed four people in the 9th arrondissement. DMParis