Saint-Laurent-de-la-Salanque tragedy: The defendants are said to want to defraud the insurance company by burning down the grocery store

The criminal lead is now officially privileged as part of the investigation into the fire and explosion that killed eight people, including two young children, on February 14 in Saint-Laurent-de-la-Salanque.

The Prosecutor of Perpignan, Jean-David Cavaillé, confirms that the technical investigations of the IRCGN (Institute for Criminal Research of the National Gendarmerie) of Pontoise allow this “to rule out the use of explosives, as well as the presence of a gas leak in the city (the homes devastated by the tragedy are not associated with town gas, ed.)”, on the origin of the Saint-Laurent-de-la-Salanque tragedy. On the other hand, they noticed that “The point of explosion was at the epicenter of the grocery store”, is located on the ground floor of the building. They brought to light “the presence of fire initiators incompatible with the products offered for sale (hydrocarbons) and likely to generate flammable vapors causing an atmospheric blast-type explosion”.

The hearings and intelligence, conducted by soldiers from the research department of the Montpellier Gendarmerie, led to the arrest of three suspects who were taken into police custody last week. Among them a young 27-year-old Algerian man in an irregular situation who would have been in business at the time of the events and was severely burned. He was charged with “deliberate destruction by fire resulting in death and injury”. The 43-year-old grocery store owner and a 40-year-old relative have been charged with “complicity” on the same counts. According to our sources, the first admitted to taking part in an insurance scam by setting fire to the store. The other two suspected of ordering or taking part in the operation would deny it altogether. Despite this, the store would have been doused with petrol at various points and the petrol fumes would have exploded. Was the shooting intentional? Did a switch or spark trigger the explosion? Would the young secretive have been surprised? The three men were detained pending further investigation.

10 investigators in a special unit called “Explo 66”

For the purposes of this investigation, the gendarmerie used very significant human and material resources. In particular for the management of the event and public order with 30 soldiers mobilized from the moment of the tragedy. But also in the search phase for traces and clues, with the help of several teams of experts from the Criminal Research Institute of the Gendarmerie (IRCGN) and to identify all the victims. A team specializing in fire and explosives was also hired for forensic operations to determine the origin of the fire with the help of a police dog specialized in searching for acceleration products from Tours. Finally, a crime scene fixation team, supported by a remote-controlled drone pilot from the Pyrénées-Orientales group, assisted to provide investigators with the most accurate 3D image possible. Without counting all the technicians in the criminal identification of the department, as well as the reinforcements of the Hérault group.

For judicial investigations in the strict sense, a national investigative unit “EXPLO 66” was set up by the Directorate-General of the National Gendarmerie, comprising ten investigators, the Montpellier Research Department and the Rivesaltes Gendarmerie Society. “The Gendarmerie Group has also used its resources without reservation, both to ensure the calm of the investigations on the ground and to support the investigators in all their actions, such as in the door-to-door phases and witness interviews.adds the word. The Saint-Laurent-de-la-Salanque town hall has made its premises and all its resources available to ensure that the investigations take place in the best conditions. The Saint-Laurent-de-la-Salanque Municipal Police were also of invaluable help in collecting elements essential to the success of the investigation.

Leave a Comment