PARIS (AP) — A suspect in the fire that killed 10 people as it devastated a Paris apartment building has been hospitalized at least 13 times in the past decade for mental issues, the Paris prosecutor said Wednesday.
Prosecutor Remy Heitz told reporters that the female suspect, who was quickly detained in a drunken state after Tuesday's fire, has a clean police record but had been involved in three judicial procedures, one for setting fire to clothes in a store.
He said two complaints were thrown out due to her mental state.
The prosecutor said the suspect was just released on Jan. 30 from her latest hospitalization at a Paris psychiatric facility after a nearly two-week stay.
Two residents of the nine-story building in the French capital's posh 16th arrondissement called in fire alerts before 1 a.m. Tuesday. One was an off-duty firefighter who had complained to the suspect about how noisy she was being.
The flames quickly engulfed the building, forcing residents to flee to the roof and across balconies to escape. Besides the deaths, 96 other people were injured in the blaze, including eight firefighters, and one of the injured remained in serious condition.
The suspect remained under evaluation Wednesday in the police psychiatric infirmary, where Heitz said she was put after giving investigators "confused" responses to questions.
However, he said she indicated that she was not behind the fire.
French authorities opened an investigation Tuesday for "destruction by a flammable substance that caused deaths and injuries." However, the prosecutor said the exact cause of the blaze and whether it began in one or more parts of the building was not immediately known.
The fire Tuesday was the deadliest in Paris since 24 people died in an April 2005 hotel fire near the famed Opera.