An American Expat in
the South of France


(15 August 2005)

Monday, August 15, 7:30 p.m.
Jean-Marc, taking the Diva for a promenade before dinner, was walking along the Rue Notre-Dame when, suddenly, accompanying friend Peter ("The Name of the Nose") Mahon sniffed the air and said:
It smells like something's burning."
Heavy puffs of whitish smoke were seeping from behind the closed shutters of an empty house located at No. 4.
Two local youths passing by were of no help at all: one claimed his cell phone was out of credit; the other that it had no coverage.
Jean-Marc ran across the corner and chanced upon neighbor
Mr. Montoro (Manu's very own uncle) who immediately called the Fire Brigade.
Fifteen minutes later, the local firemen, as well as firetrucks from neighboring village Quillan, were on the spot.

The firetrucks arrive
Cours Sully;
crowds gather.

The firetrucks at the
corner of Cours Sully and
Rue Notre-Dame.

The firemen confer;
No. 4 on fire at left;
right: the clock of the
old church.

Doors and windows had to be chainsawed open for the firemen to go inside. For a while, there was some concern that the fire had spread to
No. 6's adjacent rooftop, but that proved unfounded.

The next day:
No. 4 all boarded up.

The causes of the fire remain unknown. Some blamed squatters (?!); others, an electrical short.