Frenchman confesses to fire in which 3 Turks were killed
A 28-year-old Frenchman confessed to starting a fire in a social housing block in the eastern French city of Mulhouse on Oct. 1, daily Habertürk reported on Oct. 4. Four children and one adult lost their lives in the fire and three of the victims were of Turkish origin.
The man whose name was indicated to be “Aurelien” by the daily, reportedly said he started the fire against his neighbors in the housing blocks because they were “too noisy.” He confessed to tossing a cigarette butt on the apartment’s basement floor.
Aurelien was arrested after the incident and was known to police services for his criminal record of repeated arson and break-ins.
Meanwhile, İsmail Ertunç, a man of Turkish-origin who lost his 10-year-old daughter in the deadly fire, spoke about the events to the daily Habertürk.
Ertunç, a construction worker, was injured in the fire and said he warned his neighbors of the incident and helped them get away from the scene.
After rescuing his wife, his son Eyüp and one of his neighbors, who were lying unconscious in the apartment, he went back in the flat again, but could not save his daughter, he said.
“My daughter Senem was screaming ‘Father, father.’ I heard her but I was powerless. My daughter continued to scream. I also heard the other kids’ screams, but I could not save my daughter nor them. They died burning in front of my eyes. I could not save any of them,” said Ertunç, who originally hails from the northern Turkish city of Gümüşhane.
Ertunç’s wife, Nihal and their son Eyüp were reported to still be under treatment in the hospital, with their health situation cited as critical.
Meanwhile, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş said during his visit to France on Oct. 3 that Turkey was closely following the fire incident.
“As the government and [Turkish] state, we closely follow this incident. We will never allow it to be covered up in any way,” Kurtulmuş told Turkish citizens at the Mulhouse Turkish Cultural Center.
Earlier in the day, Kurtulmuş, who was in the capital of Paris to attend a meeting of the Tourism Committee of the Organization for the Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), visited families of the victims in Mulhouse and expressed his condolences.