Three people died Saturday July 17 in Marseille in the fire of a building, belonging to a social landlord but partly squatted, whose occupants must be relocated.

The fire started in the common areas of this building of the Flamants residence in the early hours of the morning. Trapped by the flames, four people jumped from the building. Three died, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP) according to a police source. Two other people were injured, an adult and a child, and eight others were poisoned, according to the police headquarters.

Part of the building was inhabited by tenants from a social landlord, while another part was squatted, added the prefecture of Bouches-du-Rhône. “The fire is over. The work of evacuating and rehousing the inhabitants has started ”, she assured. Families carrying suitcases and pushing carts containing their belongings left the building on Saturday morning, in a heavy atmosphere.

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“It should have been destroyed a few months ago”

The mayor of Marseille, Benoît Payan, went there, where he lamented “An absolute drama”. “Three deaths, four people in absolute urgency, including a two-year-old baby who is between life and death, that the doctors are trying to save, and five relative emergencies … The situation is very complicated”, did he declare according to the newspaper The Marseillaise.

On Twitter, the Minister of the Interior, Gerald Darmanin, offered his condolences to the families of the victims of the fire. “Thank you to the services of the State, in particular to the marine firefighters of Marseille, for their action since the middle of the night”, he added.

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The Les Flamants residence, built in 1972, is owned by 13 Habitat, which presents itself as the first HLM office in the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur region with 33,500 managed housing units.

Les Flamants was the subject of an urban renewal project, but the building which was set on fire, consisting of four entrances, “Still could not be rehabilitated”, a spokesperson for 13 Habitat told AFP. “It should have been destroyed a few months ago, but the project is falling behind in the face of the problems of rehousing the tenant families”, he added. At the time of the fire, a total of 14 tenants remained in the building.

“Migrants, mostly of Nigerian origin, squat in parallel empty housing”, according to 13 Habitat. “The objective, from now on, will be to offer the relocation of reluctant tenant families to the hotel” in an emergency, added the spokesperson for the HLM office. The prefecture specified that the town hall of Marseille was also mobilized to offer shelter to people without rental title who lived in this building.

“If it remains to determine the origin of the tragedy, which the investigation will clarify, the fact remains that the unlivable situation of the squats known in the dwellings for many months and years generates in the Flamants, as in d ‘other cities of Marseille, a dangerousness and significant risks for the inhabitants and the occupants ”, estimated in a press release Samia Ghali, deputy mayor of Marseille for the equality of territories.

Marseille, France’s second city, was affected by a tragedy of unsanitary housing in November 2018, when two buildings located in a working-class district in the center collapsed, killing eight people.

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The World with AFP

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