Rouen :A fire sparked by birthday cake candles tore through a bar in northern France early Saturday, killing at least 13 people in the nation´s deadliest blaze in over a decade, investigators said.
Utv Pakistan Report
Through the shattered front windows of the Au Cuba Libre bar in Rouen melted stools and scorched liquor bottles were visible, as tearful mourners hugged each other and brought flowers to the scene.
The dead were aged between 16 and 25. One of the six injured, a woman who was badly burned, had been transferred to St Louis Hospital in Paris where she was in a life threatening condition, local deputy prosecutor Laurent Labadie said.
Mayor Yvon Robert said the other five injured had been released from hospital.
Authorities said the bar had been crowded with young partygoers. According to a police source, the birthday party was for a former police community support officer who was among the dead.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls expressed “deep sadness at the tragedy that claimed 13 young lives”.
Labadie told AFP the blaze, which began around midnight (2200 GMT Friday) in the bar´s basement, was triggered accidentally.
“Someone came down with a birthday cake with candles and fell down the stairs,” Labadie said, citing initial investigation findings.
“The candles were thrown onto the walls and ceiling, where there was soundproofing material. There was an immediate conflagration and gas was released.”
Firefighters were soon on the scene but those inside the bar were battling deadly fumes as well as the flames.
Police said that the fire had ignited polystyrene on the ceiling of the basement room, releasing a toxic mix of gases that poisoned the victims.