In this edition of Criminal Digest, a man lit a smoke bomb during a match and a historical pool went up in flames due to a mysterious fire of uncertain origins
Smoke bomb during Match
Lighting a smoke bomb during the match Monaco-Montpellier can only bring bad news.
When the bailiff called the perpetrator to the stand at the correctional hearing, the defendant did not really fit the typical profile of a hooligan. However, this young postman from Beausoleil appeared before the judges for lighting a smoke bomb on 21 October, during the L1 match between Monaco and Montpellier. The CCTV cameras filmed the scene where the machine diffused a thick smoke. Then, a spectator named this 30-something year old man as the perpetrator of the act. The police had only to apprehend the suspect at the end of the match. After being taken to Security, the troublemaker acknowledged his responsibility. “Carrying a smoke bomb is prohibited in a sports hall to avoid accidents,” said Judge Jérôme Fougeras Lavergnolle. “And according to your testimony, you had concealed the smoke bomb in your underpants in order to pass through the net of the security service, strange behaviour…”
“I had drunk four to five whiskeys and a beer… I’m not part of a group of hooligan supporters and I did not come to the stands to cheer the Montpellier players. But since I had the gear in my house and knew that it was forbidden to use it at the stadium, then I hid it…”
In his requisitions, the prosecutor Alexia Brianti demanded a firm attitude. “Your court has already sanctioned the bearers of this type of device. And the security services are calling on the court so that these behaviours do not become the norm. It’s dangerous! Each offense must correspond to a conviction of ten to fifteen days.”
The defence wanted to put the offense in perspective. “We are in the framework of an object transported without authorisation,” argues Arnaud Cheynut. “Now, we are talking about a C1 category weapon. The relevant article does not mention any smoke-forming instrument or device. No indication, no reference, no picture designate this object as a weapon. In addition, these devices are available over the Internet. No damage was found. Then you should be lenient with my client …” The court preferred to hand down a sentence with a fine: 1,500 euros! Expensive price to pay for a smoke bomb. “And to curb any future fans who would plan to use it on a whim…”
An impressive fire broke out at the Tournesol Swimming Pool recently, without causing any injuries. The old structure had been closed since June 2015 and was to be renovated in September.
Despite the grey skies, the thick black smoke was visible for several kilometres. A cloud loomed over Roquebrune-Cap-Martin as water fell heavily on the asphalt. Recently in the middle of the day, around 2 pm, an impressive fire broke out in the Tournesol pool on Robert Schumann Avenue. “I heard a bang and I went out on my terrace. Very quickly, a very thick black cloud formed…” testified Philippe, a resident who lives nearby. Very quickly, about thirty firefighters from Menton, La Turbie and Sospel went to the scene to extinguish the flames, which devoured the whole of this dome-shaped structure. Finally, during the day, the fire was controlled and the traffic was able to resume on the avenue Robert-Schumann, blocked during the intervention.
Fortunately, the fire did not cause any injuries and the swimming pool, which had been dilapidated, had been closed since 2015. Question: was it criminal or accidental? A police investigation was opened to determine the causes.
“Electricity and gas had been cut when the structure was closed,” said Roquebrune’s first deputy, Richard Ciocchetti. The hypothesis of a short-circuit was therefore unlikely. Given the weather conditions, could lightning have been involved? Numerous witnesses on the spot spoke of a flash of lightning that had zigzagged in the sky just before the fire. The Nice Météo 06 association, which aims to observe and prevent thunderstorms, is equipped with a lightning detector.
“We can locate impacts from 5 to 10 metres. Apparently there was no lightning strike on land between Menton and Roquebrune, except for the Aulage and the commune of Sainte-Agnès,” said one of the members of the association. If firefighters are unable to determine the cause of the fire, the prosecutor will then appoint a fire expert. For the Roquebrunois, it is part of the history of the city that has gone up in smoke. “It was there that I first fell in love and that my children learned to swim,” recalled Brigitte, as the memories are scattered in the ashes.
These two cases involving a smoke bomb and a mysterious pool fire truly show the potential consequences of playing with fire.