Firefighters were called to the scene at around 3.30pm on New Year’s Day after a fire broke out on the fourth floor of a tower block in the Jonction area of the city, reported Le Tribune de Genève.
Speaking to the Tribune, Nicolas Schumacher, head of the Geneva fire service, said evacuating people trapped in the building proved difficult due to the size of the “violent” fire, which spread rapidly.
An explosion during the course of the rescue operation made things worse, but no firefighters were injured, he said.
Everyone in the 14-storey building was rescued successfully and many were treated by medics at the scene.
Sixteen people were taken to hospital. Ten were in a serious condition, including eight children suffering from smoke inhalation and one person with serious burns, who was flown by helicopter to Lausanne’s CHUV hospital, said the paper.
The fire was eventually put out by 7pm.
In total, four apartments are no longer habitable, including the one where the fire broke out, which was completely destroyed.
Later the same day another fire broke out on the third floor of an apartment block in the Servette area of Geneva.
One person was seriously injured in the fire, and 30 were evacuated from their homes, said the Tribune.