New expertise ordered to understand the explosion of the rue de Trévise

Rue de Trévise, in the 9th arrondissement of Paris, July 8, 2019, six months after the deadly gas explosion that occurred on January 12, 2019.

Who is responsible for the devastating gas explosion in rue de Trévise (9and arrondissement) on January 12, 2019, one of the most serious accidents of this type ever recorded in Paris, with four dead, sixty-six injured and hundreds of victims? The investigating judges had so far retained a scenario in which they dismissed the responsibility of the gas distributor GRDF, and placed in the hot seat only the trustee of the co-ownership concerned and the City of Paris. Maybe they will have to revise this version.

At the request of the City of Paris, the Paris Court of Appeal ordered the investigating judges, Wednesday March 30, to launch new expert reports to analyze the causes of the accident, “in order to guarantee respect for the right to a fair trial and that of the rights of the defence”. During the investigation, the Town Hall had repeatedly challenged the conclusions of the first experts, and called for second opinions. But without being heard. She then appealed.

Read also Explosion of the rue de Trévise in Paris: the Town Hall and a trustee indicted

On Wednesday, the court was indeed more receptive to his complaints than the investigating judges. “Whatever the merits of the final expert report and the additional expert report”, the magistrates believe that the professionals who have worked on the case so far were logically specialists in explosions and fires, but not in the subjects that have become central to the investigation, such as the evolution of the ground during the years preceding the accident . For the Court of Appeal, it is therefore necessary to appoint a new panel of experts “to complementary specialties, not only in fires and explosions, but also in geology, geotechnics or hydrology”.

sidewalk collapse

While the instruction had been practically closed since December 2021, here it is indeed reopened, for months, or even more. “Where we expected a trial for 2023 or 2024, there will inevitably be an additional delay”, notes Linda Zaourar, the president of one of the two victims’ associations. This is why the victims are delighted that a framework agreement was finally signed in January with the Town Hall, to financially support all the victims without waiting for the criminal trial, which has now been postponed. “No victim has yet been compensated”, note however Mme Zaourar.

With this appeal decision, the City of Paris marks an important point. “We hope that these second opinions will finally shed light on the true causes of the accident, comments Sabrina Goldman, lawyer for the Town Hall. The report of the first experts contained far too many errors and inconsistencies. »

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