Judge frees teens in French wild­fire

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL -

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.

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