Birthday Cake May Have Triggered Fatal Bar Fire

A deadly fire at a birthday party in France could have been started after a woman carrying the cake tripped as she brought it downstairs, reports say.

The blaze, in which 13 people were killed, is thought to have taken hold in the basement of the Cuba Libre bar in Rouen, Normandy, which was hired out for the event.

The walls and low ceiling quickly ignited when the candles of the cake were lit and it fell on the floor, according to local media.

It is suggested the ceiling and walls were covered in foam padding, used to help sound-proof the room, and this material may have led to the flames spreading quickly.

Those killed are thought to have been aged between 18 and 25 and a number of them are believed to have died from fumes.

Sky’s Europe Correspondent Mark Stone said: “Police sources being quoted by the local media are suggesting, quite extraordinarily, that one of the partygoers was carrying a birthday cake down the stairs from the ground floor into the basement.

“The birthday cake obviously with candles on it.

“The reports suggest that she tripped, the cake fell on to the ground, and somehow the foam padding caught alight very quickly, it is suggested, and that is what caused such a quick and fierce fire to take hold.”

Six people were injured in the blaze, including one said to be in a critical condition.

A judicial inquiry is under way to establish the cause of the blaze which happened shortly after midnight in the centre of the city in northern France.

More than 50 firefighters battled the blaze, which is not thought to be terror-related.

The tragedy was a few miles from Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray where a Catholic priest was murdered in his church late last month by two Islamic States sympathisers.