Two women arrested for Lausanne library fire

Two women suspected of setting fire to Lausanne’s city library have been arrested, officials said on the weekend.

Two women arrested for Lausanne library fire
Photo: City of Lausanne

Anton Rüsch, the prosecutor in charge of the case, announced on Saturday that a 21-year-old Swiss woman was arrested in the connection with the January 20th fire.

This followed the arrest on Thursday of another 21-year-old woman, originally from Kosovo, who has admitted to her involvement.

The two woman face charges of arson and theft.

Video surveillance cameras, installed in the square outside the library last fall, enabled investigators to track down the Kosovar, Le Matin Dimanche reported on Sunday.

The woman, already known to police for multiple infractions, including thefts and robberies, was identified by an officer viewing the videotape, the newspaper said.

In an interview with Rüsch, the woman reportedly admitted to breaking into a library office, without reason.

The woman noticed a safe in the office but was unable to open it, Le Matin Dimanche said.

She explained that she collected paper and set fire to it, on the spur of the moment fand or no particular reason, the newspaper said.

No information from the second woman arrested was immediately made public.

The fire destroyed two offices and damaged 100,000 books, which need to be cleaned from soot and smoke.

The head of the library, Frédéric Sardet, initially said the library would be closed to the public for a week.
However, it now appears it will not reopen for at least a further 10 days because of the work needed to clean the books.

Officials expect it will take several months before the offices can be rebuilt.

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Barcelona fire kills four, including two children

A fire ripped through an abandoned bank occupied by squatters in central Barcelona on Tuesday, killing four people, including a baby and a three year-old boy, Spanish firefighters said.

Police and firefighters gather outside an abandoned building where a blaze broke out early on November 30, 2021 in Barcelona, killing four people.
Police and firefighters gather outside an abandoned building where a blaze broke out early on November 30, 2021 in Barcelona, killing four people. (Photo by Pau BARRENA / AFP)

“While we were battling the fire, we found four people. Emergency services tried to revive them but unfortunately they failed, they could not do anything to save them,” the head of the firefighting operation, Ángel López, told reporters.

Firefighters rescued four other people who were inside the building while putting out the blaze, he added.

Those four were treated for smoke inhalation.

Firefighters rushed to the scene at around 6 am after being warned that a blaze had broken out in the building, Mr Lopez said.

While Mr López said it was not clear how the four dead people were related, Barcelona-based daily newspaper La Vanguardia said they were all members of a Romanian family.

A spokesman for Catalonia’s regional police force, the Mossos d’Esquadra, said an investigation had been opened into the causes of the fire.

In December 2020, four people were killed after a blaze ripped through an industrial complex occupied by squatters, many of them African migrants, near Barcelona.

Over 100 squatters were believed to be living in precarious conditions at the abandoned complex in Badalona, a suburban town north of the city.

In addition to the four deaths, more than 20 people were injured in the blaze.