At least 13 people were killed and six injured in a fire early Saturday during a birthday party at a bar in the northern French city of Rouen, officials said. The blaze was sparked by the candles of a birthday cake, which ignited the polystyrene ceiling of the basement room where the celebrations were taking place.
The victims, local media reports were young people between the ages of 18 and 25, attending a birthday party at the Cuba Libre bar. One of the injured is said to be in a critical condition.
More than 50 firefighters battled the blaze at the bar in the city centre, said French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve.
It took firefighters 30 minutes to control the flames. The victims’ bodies were transported to the University Hospital of Rouen.
According to local police, fears the fire may have been an act of terrorism appear to be unfounded. They denied earlier reports that the blaze had been triggered by an explosion.
A tense France is on maximum terror alert after two attacks last month, the latest the killing of a priest in his church outside Rouen. The funeral Mass was held at the Rouen cathedral on Tuesday.