A birthday party turned tragic when an accidental gas leak set fire to the Au Cuba Libre restaurant in Rouen, France on August 5. While many patrons were able to escape the burning restaurant, 13 perished inside. Read on for more details.
A person carrying a birthday cake downstairs to a basement party room at Au Cuba Libre in Rouen, France tripped on the stairs and lit the ceiling on fire, according to local police. The soundproofing material that covers the basement ceiling emitted toxic gas, which reacted to the lit candles and engulfed the venue in massive, fast-moving flames.
More than 50 firefighters immediately rushed to the scene, but the fire was too brutal, according to Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve. Thirteen people died, mostly from inhaling the gas, and the majority of the victims were between the ages of 18 and 25, according to the Paris-Normandie news site (in French). Six other victims were injured, and another in critical condition. The names of the victims have not yet been released.
The use of polystyrene insulators (which is what was used at Au Cuba Libre) is prohibited in France, specifically because of this incredible toxicity. The material is what’s been blamed for the 2015 nightclub fire in Bucharest, Hungary, in which 27 died, and the 2013 nightclub fire in Santa Maria, Brazil, in which an unfathomable 241 people died.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls released a statement via Twitter about the tragedy (in French): “Deep sadness with regard to the tragedy which mowed down 13 young lives. Compassion and support for the afflicted families.” The Ministry of Interior is launching a formal investigation into the incident, but the French government is stressing that the tragedy at Au Cuba Libre is an accident, not an accident. The fire comes just 11 days after ISIS terrorists took five hostages in Rouen’s church of Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, and murdered 86-year-old priest Father Jacques Hamel.
HollywoodLifers, our thoughts are with the people of Rouen during this tragic time.