One hundred are forty two people died early today (Sunday) when fire swept through a dance hall at St.
One hundred are forty two people died early today (Sunday) when fire swept through a dance hall at St. Laurent du Pont, near the resort city of Grenoble. The dancers had been taking part in celebrations marking Halloween (All Saint Day).
The fire was so intense that identification of the victims was almost impossible, and several hours after all the dead had been removed only four people had been identified.
The blaze swept through the small crowded hall in minutes. Police said an indication of the terror and panic was that the dead were piled six feet (2 metres) deep around the narrow exits from the hall. All the members of the four-piece musical group providing music for the dancers perished in the fire.
One report said all the emergency exits from the hall had been locked. A small number of people managed to escape. An official inquiry into the disaster -- the worst fire disaster in France for 50 years -- has begun.