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Valenciennes: One dead and six injured after a fire in a freight wagon

623dee375689d valenciennes
623dee375689d valenciennes

An Eritrean migrant died “electrified” on Friday as they tried to board a freight car parked at Valenciennes station. The latter would have been the victim of an “electric arc” which would then have set fire to the wagon, according to the SNCF. “Factually, there is a death, a body on the way,” said the head of the Departmental Directorate of Public Security in the North, Thierry Courtecuisse.

The firefighters came to the aid of three other Eritrean migrants, also victims of this electric arc, but only slightly injured. The latter was “rather shocked than anything else”, declared the comptroller general of the firefighters of the North, Gilles Grégoire, specifying that it was about the “final assessment”, the rubble of the wagon having been searched. “These are migrants, who could be minors,” said Valenciennes prosecutor Jean-Philippe Vicentini.

Three other injured among firefighters and station staff

A fourth “injured” was also taken to hospital. It is an employee of the SNCF, “especially shocked”. Finally, two firefighters were slightly injured during the intervention. Firefighters set up a tent in front of a medical vehicle outside the station, with two empty stretchers. By early evening, the fire was under control, according to firefighters.

According to the mayor of Valenciennes, Laurent Degallaix, the train was to “go back to Calais”, where hundreds of migrants are flocking to try to cross into England. “Migrants infiltrated and climbed onto the wagon which was covered. The first one who climbed made a conductive wire, with an electric arc, and the wagon caught fire, ”he explained. The first migrant to be mounted “was thrown to the ground and died instantly”, he added. “His comrades were injured…”

The fire broke out at 4:30 p.m. in a wagon containing tires, which caused an impressive column of smoke, with, according to the firefighters, a “high risk of spreading to two refrigerated wagons and a TER”. The SNCF specified that the station had been evacuated and the traffic interrupted.

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Written by Christina d'souza

Proofreader, editor, journalist. I have been doing my favourite thing for more than six years.


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