The investigation into the explosion in Saint-Laurent-de-la-Salanque (Pyrénées-Orientales), which killed eight people last February, is progressing. The criminal lead has been confirmed and three suspects have been taken into custody.
Among them is the owner of the grocery store located on the ground floor of the building. According to information from The Independentthe latter, aged 43, admitted during his hearing that it was initially an insurance scam. The other two, a 40-year-old relative of the manager and a 27-year-old man of Algerian nationality, would deny the facts.
“The point of explosion was at the epicenter of the grocery store”
Eight people, including a baby and a two-year-old child from the same family, died in the fire that occurred during the night of February 13 to 14, 2022 in Saint-Laurent-de-la-Salanque, a town of 10,000 inhabitants.
Technical investigations were carried out by the IRCGN (criminal research institute of the national gendarmerie) of Pontoise (Val-d’Oise). They allowed “to exclude the use of explosives as well as the existence of a town gas leak»indicated the public prosecutor of Perpignan, Jean-David Cavaillé, according to remarks reported by the regional daily.
But it was discovered that “the point of explosion was at the epicenter of the grocery store”. Experts also noted the presence of fire activators “not compatible with the products offered for sale (hydrocarbons) and likely to generate flammable vapours”.
The Algerian suspect, seriously injured during the fire, was indicted for “willful destruction by fire resulting in death, injury and destruction”. The other two suspects were indicted for “complicity in crimes and misdemeanors”.