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5 children among 10 dead in France apartment fire

Authorities said it was not immediately clear what started the deadly overnight blaze in Vaulx-en-Velin, near the city of Lyon.

At least ten people, including five children, were killed after a fire broke out overnight Friday at an apartment building near the French city of Lyon, officials said.

First responders were first alerted to the fire at the 7-story building in the Vaulx-en-Velin suburb at around 3:12 a.m. local time (9:12 p.m. ET Thursday), regional authorities said in a statement. Fire and rescue services were on site by 3:25 a.m., with 170 firefighters and 65 fire trucks deployed to combat the blaze, it said.

Officials said a preliminary death toll found that 10 people had died, with five children among them. Four others were left in critical condition, while 10 sustained minor injuries, including two firefighters, they said. The identities of the victims have yet to be released.

Authorities said it was not immediately clear what started the fire.

By around 6:30 a.m. local time (12:30 a.m. ET), the fire had been extinguished, officials said. A security perimeter was established at the site by national police, they said.

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said he would be visiting the site along with France's housing minister on Friday morning.

"Terrible fire in Vaulx-en-Velin," he said in a tweet, offering his condolences to the families and friends of the victims.

Vaulx-en-Velin, about 300 miles southeast of Paris, has 43,000 inhabitants and is among the most impoverished areas in the Rhone region.