Fire causes evacuation of French state radio
Oct. 31, 2014
PARIS (AP) — A fire at the Paris headquarters of French state radio forced radio stations housed inside to interrupt broadcasts, as columns of black smoke spilled out of windows.
No one was hurt in the blaze at the massive Maison de la Radio in the capital's chic 16th arrondissement, and the building was safely evacuated, fire department spokesman Gabriel Plus said on television i-Tele.
The fire was contained in the early afternoon and put out hours later, Plus said. The blaze started in a part of the building undergoing renovations and was not being used by radio personnel. Explosions heard in the neighborhood were likely due to bottles of gas used for soldering work, the spokesman said.
It was not immediately known whether the renovation work triggered the fire.
In a sign of the building's national importance, President Francois Hollande interrupted a news conference with Turkish President Recep Erdogan to address the incident.
"The damage appears considerable," Hollande said, calling the fire "a great shock."
The building, nicknamed "The Round House" for its circular design, was built in 1963 and houses studios for some of France's most popular radio stations. Renovations have been ongoing for years, notably to modernize anti-fire protections.