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Two confirmed dead in French Alps Courchevel blaze

Two people have been confirmed dead and four injured after a fire in the ski resort of Courchevel, Savoie, last night (Saturday January 19 to Sunday January 20).

Two bodies were recovered by emergency services underneath rubble from the collapsing building, police have confirmed, while three of the four severely-injured people were airlifted to hospital.

A further 18 people suffered less-serious injuries. Almost 60 other people were evacuated and taken to safety.

According to reports, the fire took hold of the seasonal workers' building in Courchevel 1850 - the highest-altitude hamlet of the ski station in the French Alps in the Savoie - at around 4h30 this morning (Sunday January 20).

More than 70 firefighters attended the scene, with the fire under control by 8h30, according to Savoie authorities.

The fire is believed to have started on the top floor of the building, and spread quickly. The cause of the fire is not yet known.

Video: Yarik Zanuda, posted on Facebook

Frédéric Loiseau, local police deputy, said: “[The flames] spread extremely rapidly, which led certain numbers of the occupiers to react quickly and jump out of the windows to save their lives.”

One man, named as Adrien, told news source FranceInfo: “I live just opposite; I was the first one on the scene. We picked up two people who had jumped from the third floor, and then we were lining up underneath, for four or five other people, to try to break their fall. Everything hurts.”

He added that he had not heard a fire alarm go off, and was only alerted to the incident after hearing screams from the building. He questioned whether the correct fire protection measures had been in place.

He said: “We are the richest [ski] station in the world, but our seasonal workers are staying in catastrophic places.”

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