At least 13 people killed in bar fire in France

Blaze believed to have been caused by candles on birthday cake

Updated: 
Thirteen killed in French bar fire

A fire at a bar in the French city of Rouen has left at least 13 people dead with six others injured, including one critically.

The blaze started during a party at the Cuba Libre when candles on a birthday cake were lit.

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AFP reports that the polystyrene ceiling of the basement room where the celebration took place after midnight caught fire.

FRANCE-FIRE

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said that more than 50 firefighters were sent to the scene.

At least six people were rescued and were treated for their injuries.

The victims are mostly young people aged between 18 and 25.

According to ITV News, a senior French police official said they were poisoned by a toxic mix of gases released by the burning plastic.

"The group was unable to leave the basement and most of the victims died of asphyxiation," the official told AFP.

FRANCE-FIRE

Writing on Twitter, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said: "Deep sadness with regard to the tragedy which mowed down 13 young lives. Compassion and support for the afflicted families."

Yvon Robert, the mayor of Rouen, described the fire as "the greatest catastrophe" and that the birthday party was a "moment of joy for those involved that ended tragically".

According to The Guardian, Lawrence Labadie, local deputy prosecutor, told local media that the fire appeared to be an accident and that the sound of the glass exploding would probably have been heard by local residents.

The cause of the fire is being investigated.