At least 13 people have died after a fire ravaged and destroyed a bar in Rouen, the capital of the French region of Normandy, a local newspaper reports. Most of the victims were reportedly young people attending a birthday party.
The fire started around midnight at a bar where young people had been gathering to celebrate a private birthday party in the northern city of Rouen, the Paris-Normandie newspaper reports. Firefighters responded to the emergency, and have declared 13 people dead so far.
The fire was allegedly caused by an accidental explosion on site, the publication reports.
The fire reportedly started at 00:50 a.m. local time on Saturday at Le Cuba Libre bar on the west bank of the River Seine. Firefighters took 30 minutes to get the fire under control.
A support unit for families is being set up at the University Hospital of Rouen. Eleven witnesses have been taken to the Rouen central police station to be interviewed.
Authorities expect the death toll to rise, the newspaper added.
According to local police, fears the fire may have been an act of terrorism appear to be unfounded.
France is under heightened security after several terrorist attacks in recent weeks, including the murder of a priest in a small town near Rouen.
(With IANS inputs)