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Judges consider Mont Blanc fire charges

News

THREE FRENCH judges were this week due to consider charges against 12 individuals and four organisations implicated in the 1999 Mont Blanc tunnel fire.

They are expected to make their judgement in July after hearing three months of evidence at a court in Bonneville.

Thirty nine people including a local fireman died when a truck carrying flour and margarine caught fire 6km into the 11.6km tunnel on 28 March 1999 (NCE 1/8 April 1999).

Among the accused are the French tunnel operator's managing director Remy Chardon, his safety managers, the truck driver and Chamonix mayor Michel Charlet whose fire department fought the blaze.

Prosecutors have demanded suspended prison sentences and fines for Chardon, the safety managers, the truck driver and Charlet.

An official report into the blaze criticised the tunnel's poor ventilation and weak disaster response as major contributors to the death toll.

After the fire the single bore two lane tunnel was refurbished and fire shelters replaced by an escape corridor incorporated in the under-road ventilation system.

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