Judge frees teens in French wildfire
BORMES-LES-MIMOSAS, France — Two teenagers suspected of a role in a wildfire west of Marseille were freed without charge Friday, and vacationers returned to beaches to the east on the Cote d’Azur after raging fires there were tamed.
The blazes scorched over 27 square miles, destroyed homes and forced the evacuation of more than 12,000 people in the worst fires France has seen in over a decade.
The two 16-year-old boys appeared before an investigating magistrate in Aix-en-Provence, suspected of a role in a fire Wednesday in Carro, where 370 acres burned.
They had been seen near the blaze, but the judge concluded there were no “grave and concordant” indications they had a direct role in the fire, Deputy Prosecutor Remy Avon said by telephone.
Instead, the judge gave the boys the status of “assisting witness.” Under French law, that means they could later be charged in the case but can have access to court files as the probe continues.