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Firefighters leave the bar where a fire broke in Rouen, western France, Saturday Aug.6, 2016. A fire swept through a Friday night birthday party at a bar in the Normandy city of Rouen, killing at least 13 people and injuring six others, French authorities said. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)

Deadly fire kills more than a dozen in France at birthday party



A fire that swept through a bar during a birthday party in France, killing at least 13 people and injuring six others early Saturday was "totally accidental," authorities say.

Rouen, France, Mayor Yvon Robert says the loud noise that preceded the fire could have been a gas explosion.

In a statement released by the French presidency, Francois Hollande expressed his "solidarity" with the victims' families and vowed that the ongoing judicial investigation will shed light on the "the causes of this dramatic accident."

Local media reported Le Cuba Libre Bar was holding a birthday event when the fire first broke out. The bar owner told a French TV station customers were trapped inside because the fire moved too fast.

"It happened in three seconds," he said. "Some customers exited on their hands and knees. Some of them tried to use a fire extinguisher, but it was too late."

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