The State of Gas Pipeline questioned by an Expertise

In January 2019, an explosion occurred on rue de Trévise in Paris, resulting in four deaths, including two firefighters, 66 injured individuals, and hundreds of affected residents. A new expert report, dated October 6, 2023, highlights the ground collapse and, for the first time, the condition of the gas pipeline. This information, confirmed by AFP after reviewing the report, was reported by Le Parisien. Linda Zaourar, president of the Victims and Survivors of the rue de Trévise explosion association (Vret), points out that these new reports blame the pipeline and therefore hold GRDF, the gas network operator, responsible.

This new expertise is part of a procedure that has been ongoing for nearly five years, with numerous reports being produced both on the civil and criminal aspects. These reports are crucial in determining the responsibility for this tragedy and compensating the victims.

In the criminal aspect, an initial report submitted in December 2019 concluded that a ground collapse beneath the pavement in front of the building at 6 rue de Trévise had caused a gas pipeline rupture, resulting in a gas accumulation leading to the explosion. In their final report issued in May 2020, the experts pointed to a “lack of vigilance” by the City of Paris and attributed responsibility to the building’s property manager. They claimed that the property manager had been slow in repairing a leak in a wastewater collector, which had a direct impact on the ground collapse.

A counter-expertise, requested by the City of Paris and delivered at the end of June 2023, stated that the pipeline “broke under its own weight” after the collapse, caused by water infiltration. According to these experts, the municipality and property manager committed five “errors,” including the failure to initiate an investigation into the cause of the pavement collapse.

A synthesis report dated October 11, 2023, conducted by two other experts, incorporates the October 6 civil report and the criminal expertise report. It presents a “possible sequence of events.” According to this scenario, everything began in early 2015 with water infiltration leading to the loosening of the backfill in the section of the pavement in front of the porch at 6 rue de Trévise. At the same time, repeated and filled sinkings of the concrete slab of the sidewalk were observed.

This infiltration and loosening allegedly caused the gas pipeline to develop cracks, which then propagated at varying speeds, according to the experts’ synthesis.

On January 12, 2019, at around 7:30 am, the pipeline ruptured, resulting in a gas leak into the basement of 6 rue de Trévise. According to the experts, this is where the explosion took place one and a half hours later.

Linda Zaourar hopes that the new civil report “will be taken into account by the investigating judge” so that the full truth about “what really happened” can be established.

Leave a Reply