Police on Saturday continued to search the ruins of the six-story one-star Paris-Opera hotel, occupied mainly by immigrant families, for clues of what caused the blaze overnight on Thursday.

Six of the dead have been formally identified, police said. They include an African woman and her two children - aged five and one and a half - a Senegalese man who died after jumping out of a hotel window and a Turkish couple.

Ten children were among the dead, while 33 people were still in hospital on Saturday. A previous toll said 11 people had been seriously injured and another 42 suffered minor injuries.

The inferno, the deadliest in the French capital in 32 years, destroyed the hotel, behind the upmarket Galeries Lafayette department store and near the historic Garnier opera house.

Investigation starts

As an inquiry got under way, police said the cause of the fire at the budget hotel - used both as temporary public housing for needy families and by bargain-hunting tourists - was "undoubtedly accidental."

There was no evidence that the
incident was an arson

There was no evidence "that would lead us to think this was arson". Investigators think the early-morning fire could have started in a first-floor room with a microwave.

Among the injured were French, Senegalese, Portuguese, Ivorian, American, Ukrainian and Tunisian nationals. No information was immediately available about the identities of the dead.

In Tunis TAP news agency said four Tunisian nationals - a couple and their two children - were slightly injured in the fire and taken to two hospitals.

Officials said that in addition to a handful of tourists, 79 people were staying at the 32-room hotel in rooms rented by the city and charitable organizations for families in need.