The criminal track is becoming clearer. The police custody of the two people arrested near the Strasbourg building (Bas-Rhin) where a fire killed five people, on the night of Wednesday to Thursday, has been extended. They are about fifty years old and are accused of "destruction of property by dangerous means to those who have caused death".
"A second expertise favors the criminal track" in this fire, said a source familiar with the matter. The prosecution said on Thursday evening that the first observations tend "to rule out the hypothesis of a simple electrical failure" first put forward by the prefectural authorities. "No electrical disorder [has] been highlighted at this stage" by the experts' investigations.
The investigation, initially entrusted to the Departmental Security, now also involves the Strasbourg Judicial Police "because of the complexity of the investigations to be carried out," added the magistrate.
Three men and two women died in the fire that started around 1 a.m. on Thursday in a 1970s building in the train station area. Seven other people were hospitalized in "relative emergency". According to the prosecutor, the five lifeless bodies were discovered "inside [the building] and mainly in the stairwell". The deceased are a man of 30, another in his thirties and a third of 45 years as well as a woman of 25 years and another of about 70 years, according to the chief of staff of the prefecture of the Grand Est region.
"Trafficking" in the building
But the prosecution stressed that the victims are still in the process of formal identification at the Strasbourg Medico-Legal Institute. Among the seven hospital wounded, whose lives are not in danger, is a pregnant woman.
The manager of the condominiums of this building, Yves Reutenauer, spoke on Thursday of the presence of "traffic" in the building, which mainly houses studios and two-room apartments for rent and where a video surveillance system has been installed. "It was very violent, it was charred, black everywhere in the commons," he described.
Residents who could not be accommodated by relatives were welcomed in a gymnasium. Nine were to be relocated by the municipality. A medico-psychological emergency unit was activated and an association for assistance to victims requested by the prosecution.