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Major tower block disaster avoided in Béziers

MidiLibre/Scoop, Sep 3

A major fire took hold in a high-rise apartment building in Béziers over the weekend. Firefighters were battling through most of the night on Saturday and Sunday morning.

Firefighters from Béziers, Montady, Pézenas, Valras and Sérignan were inside and outside the building trying to contain it.

Two apartments were destroyed, and 120 people had to be evacuated from one of the two high-rises in La Gayonne, La Devèze.

According to our information, the fire started from a lighting strip installed in a room in the apartment of a family with five children.

The worst has been avoided and it is luck that only there is only material damage. The high-rise has 60 flats, and the majority are occupied by families, although not all the flats were occupied.

“We relocated two families,” said Olivier Pentady, the on-call employee of the Béziers town hall. “One is an octogenarian and the other is a family of seven. The final damage is between the 10th and 15th floors, from fire and smoke that spread through stairs and windows.”

The tenants have been allowed back into the building, but the elevator is suspended pending checks, and so residents have to walk up the 15 floor stairwell.

A 68 year old man was saved by a firefighter, who saw the man on his knees in the corridor. The firefighter was treated at the scene along with the 68 year old man, both of whom were suffering from smoke inhalation.

Fortunately, many families were able to return home sometime during the night. Once the fire was extinguished, the rescuers accompanied tenants, floor by floor, to ensure their safety. At 4:30 in the morning, everyone was safely back in their apartments apart from the two families who had to be located.

A police investigation has been opened to confirm the cause of the incident.

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