On June 23, 2020, a violent fire took place in the Borderouge district. A total of 17 people were injured and 21 apartments were destroyed. After investigations, the police discovered that it was an arson linked to a tenant of the building. This 38-year-old man, father of a family, was sentenced by the Toulouse Criminal Court.
“People were trapped in apartments, unable to escape. People were evacuated from the balconies, with the fire brigade ladder, we came close to disaster.” It is with these words that the president of the hearing of the Criminal Court of Toulouse, Didier Suc introduced on September 16 the trial of the man who had set his balcony on fire, causing a huge fire in his apartment. A fire that then spread and recorded a total of the destruction of 21 homes located in a residence in the Borderouge district, north of Toulouse.
That day, June 23, 2020, around h 50, the police were at 18 at 63 rue Edmond Rostand in Toulouse for an apartment fire quickly joined by about sixty firefighters. According to the first elements the fire would have started from the balcony of an accommodation located on the 2nd floor belonging to the defendant. A few minutes before the fire started, the tenant of this apartment sent two videos. In one of the sequences, we see him shirtless, a knife in his hands pretending to stick the knife, in a daze. On the second, we see the flames rising from his balcony. “I was not well, I had swallowed 17 pills,” the defendant tries to justify himself from the box in front of a room filled with victims.
This 38-year-old man, father of five, slicked back ebony hair, pale complexion, stares at the ground. When the magistrate questions him, he confirms that distraught by the placement of his children, he would have taken white spirit on his balcony but no longer remembers what happened next. “Who were you angry with?” Asks the magistrate. “The decision of the children’s judge and afterwards I went crazy”, answers, in an almost inaudible way the person defended by Me Amélie Villageon. On the day of the fire, hours earlier, he was also reportedly told that his 11-year-old son was in hospital. “I apologize, I was not well, I did not want to hurt anyone,” he blurted to the attention of the civil parties. Victims present in number, at least twenty, defended in particular by Me Martin, Me Catala, Me Binet or even Me Boyer, who will take the stand one by one during the trial.
Thousands of euros in damage
One of them obviously still very shocked by the events burst into tears when explaining that she lost everything in this fire. This arson has triggered major incidents in this building representing several thousand euros. “It is a miracle that there was no death, we came close to disaster. We put people in the street, we destroyed a building”, gets carried away Jonathan Bomstain, lawyer defending in particular the injured firefighters. Moreover, more than one later, some residents have still not been able to return to their homes. “These are extremely serious facts”, insists the public prosecutor before requesting five years in prison against the arsonist accompanied by five years of socio-judicial follow-up. Under advisement, the decision was rendered this Thursday, October 14. The father was sentenced to five years in prison, three years of socio-judicial monitoring and obligation of care and compensation for victims. He was accompanied to detention to serve his sentence.