Members of the Brussels fire brigade yesterday held a minute’s silence in tribute to their colleagues who died in the bakery fire in Paris on Saturday. Two members of the Paris brigade were among four people who died when the bakery caught fire, sparking off a huge explosion. People in the neighbourhood at first thought the cause of the blast was a terrorist attack: in fact a preliminary report blames a gas leak.
The area in the Rue de Trevise in the 9th arrondissement was closed off to traffic and pedestrians while fire-fighters tackled the major blaze. The explosion took place shortly after their arrival on the scene. Two members of the brigade were killed, together with a Spanish tourist. A local resident was later found dead under rubble.
“Members of the Brussels brigade are seriously shocked by the drama undergone by the people of Paris and our comrades of the fire-fighters’ team,” commented Walter Derieuw, spokesperson for the Brussels brigade. The drama, he said, demonstrated the risks that fire-fighters face whenever they turn out to protect their fellow citizens.
“We wish to express our unfailing support to the families of victims and to our colleagues in Paris,” he said. “Our thoughts go with them.”
As well as the four fatalities, about 50 people were injured, ten of them seriously.