Fatal fire in Gabian: liability for fault of the Sdis de l’Hérault requested from the administrative court

Fatal fire in Gabian: liability for fault of the Sdis de l’Hérault requested from the administrative court

Didier Bourdelier, la mère de Jérémy Beier, Me Maillot et Lucas Canuel, ce vendredi, au tribunal administratif. ML – GR

Nearly eight years after the Gabian fire, where a firefighter was killed and three others seriously burned, the rapporteur of the Montpellier administrative court pleaded responsibility for the Sdis de l’Hérault due to two faults: "failure to maintain the truck" and "errors of command".

For the first time since the Gabian fire on August 10, 2016, when a 24-year-old firefighter died from his injuries and two others, aged 28 and 22 years old, had been seriously injured, justice looked into this painful case. A fourth firefighter, then aged 41, was also injured.

As the criminal procedure, which will determine personal responsibilities, is still ongoing, documents have been communicated to the administrative court so that it can rule on the responsibility of the Departmental Fire Service and relief (Sdis) of Hérault as a legal entity, as part of a compensation procedure.

This Friday, May 24, the public rapporteur of the Montpellier administrative court requested that this liability be incurred due to two faults: & quot;the lack of maintenance of the vehicle and the errors of the command."

The truck was not in condition to go to a fire

Regarding the maintenance of the truck, a real indictment was made. "The fixed radio was out of order, as were the door seals. The vehicle was not equipped with a personal breathing apparatus, nor with any breathing air supply system, nor with aluminum protection. "

"If the cut-off of the truck’s thermal self-protection system was caused by the fire, the numerous failures of the vehicle do not’ did not allow the self-protection system to take over and contributed to the occurrence of the facts."

Me Maillot: “A damning report”

"This day is important,reacted Me Jean-Marc Maillot, lawyer for three victims and their families. This drama of August 10, 2016 stopped their lives. This legal step is important in order to rebuild oneself. The report provided by the court is damning. My clients had no doubt about it, but they were able to have confirmation of the way in which this whole affair had been handled. It’s impossible for them to forget. Mr. Canuel told me that when he got out of the burning truck, he tried to cover Mr. Beier who was at his feet, and that everything suddenly caught fire . There are no words to describe this. They continue to love this institution, it is their life and their passion. But there were personal faults, which will be judged later in criminal proceedings, and moral faults, which will be recognized by this administrative court. There are all the elements to enter the process of conviction."

"On the subject of functional protection, my clients might not benefit from it, even though they know that people from Sdis have it had. It’s totally paradoxical. There are no more victims than them, and no more service accidents than what they suffered. They therefore had to personally incur costs. There is the possibility of creating jurisprudence."

"Safety drop did not occur"

As for the command of Sdis on August 10, 2016, the conclusions are unequivocal. "Helped by the changing wind, the fire approached quickly. But the firefighters waited for further orders for ten minutes before being ordered back into the truck. They were asked to come out a few minutes later, but the fire hoses had become inaccessible due to the rapid arrival of the fire. They were therefore ordered to get back into the truck while waiting for a safety drop which did not happen. This command lag time has no explanation. He gave time for the fire to reach the truck. This same weather would have allowed the teams to leave earlier and safely."

The public rapporteur requested compensation commensurate with the physical and psychological ordeal endured for years by the two main injured: 530,000 euros; for Lucas Canuel who was burned at 40%, and 257,000 euros; for Didier Bourdelier who was reached at 38%. This compensation is accompanied by interest at the legal rate from the end of 2021 and its capitalization from the end of 2022.

Me Constans: “A fragmented vision”

"The Departmental Fire and Rescue Service (Sdis) recognizes the dramatic nature of the & “events and suffering endured, which obviously justified the opening of a reparation procedure”, believes his lawyer, Me Régis Constans.

"What is more problematic is the fact that we are being told of a responsibility that is not part of the system. for misconduct, while the criminal proceedings have not been completed. The Sdis is not indicted, nor the president of the board of directors. Relying on one element of the criminal procedure leads to criminal proceedings. have a fragmentary vision of the procedure and leads to a responsibility of the Sdis while the investigating judge did not reach a conclusion. this conclusion. When the Sdis wasé received the compensation claims, there was no supporting information enabling it to make a decision. This is why I am opposed to this. what interest and capitalization are added to the compensation calculated by the court.

Judgment "within two weeks"

On the other hand, compensation of 30 000 € and 25,000,000 euros; were requested for the mother and brother of Jérémy Beier, who died as a result of his injuries six weeks after the fire, and 30,000 euros. for a member of Didier Bourdelier's family.

Lucas Canuel was refused by the Sdis the granting of functional protection, from which agents of an administration affected in their physical integrity can benefit, within the framework of their function. The rapporteur did not object to this refusal, since the faults which caused the accident were not voluntary.

The judgment of the administrative court will be rendered "within two weeks".

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