The death toll in the St. Laurent du Pont fire disaster in France reached 144?
The death toll in the St. Laurent du Pont fire disaster in France reached 144 today (Monday) following the deaths of two young men from injuries they received in the blaze of early Monday morning. The inquiry seems likely to become a national issue following reports that the dance hall, which was rased in a few minutes, had not previously been inspected by fire prevention authorities.
A report that fire exits from the dance had ben locked and barred were denied by the owner of the dance hall. The hall was crowded with teenagers attending a Halloween dance. Firemen reported that at one fire exit they had found bodies piled five feet deep, indicating terrible panic among those trapped inside.
A fire brigade official in a statement alleged the hall had not been inspected by fire prevention officers, and that if it had been the dance that ended in the mass incineration of the dancers would not have been permitted.
The bodies of those who perished have been identified by personal belongings. The victims were so disfigured the police have refrained from asking for physical identification. At least forty people have still to be identified.
A temporary mortuary has been set up in a school gymnasium. It is expected the bodies will be returned to their home villages, and there will be no mass funeral.