Video. Saint-Romain: Homes burn, school spared, village in shock


In the courtyard, a fire hose tries to smother the still virulent fire.

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The postwoman, noticing smoke escaping from the floor of the building, raised the alarm at 2 p.m. and knocked on the door to ensure that the tenant was not trapped in a developing fire. Here, it’s a village, everyone knows each other, so to make sure that the young woman is really away, she calls her work, at the neighboring campsite. It’s the boss who answers, he reassures, the receptionist is on duty and everyone, employees and campers alike, arrive in disaster to see the extent of the damage.

25 firefighters mobilized

All are helpless spectators of the onslaught of flames in this framework which ends up giving way despite the mobilization of twenty-five firefighters from the barracks of Saint-Séverin, Barbezieux and La Roche-Chalais (24). On the street side, the large ladder is deployed to dominate the monster. On the courtyard side, the men on the ground armed with spears aim at the fire. Tirelessly, for several hours. Besides the height, the difficulty here is the presence of photovoltaic panels on the entire roof.

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At 4 p.m., Commander Lelong, in charge of operations, considers the disaster contained but a lot of reconnaissance work awaits his men to ensure that the beast is brought under control. The two classes distributed on each side of the accommodation are not affected. A relief when we know that this school must welcome students from Aubeterre from the start of the 2025 school year.


The roof of the central part of the building completely collapsed.

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Mutual aid from an entire village

However, in the courtyard, the villagers remain dismayed by the spectacle. “It hurts,” says a young girl who formerly attended school here. “We look and we can’t do anything, it’s a spectacle of desolation and a feeling of helplessness,” confides teacher Mathilde Albert, still present in the building that morning. “The main thing is that there are no injuries, but it’s shocking because deep down we are addicted to this school,” continues her fellow supervisor Élizabeth Doucet.

The police were also on site.


The police were also on site.

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Further on, on the phone, the school director, Mathieu Becque, contacts the academy inspection services, the sole decision-makers on the possibility of welcoming or not the students on Thursday. Solidarity has already been activated, the neighboring mayors present are offering village halls or other places of retreat if ever. Ditto for the tenant who, in one afternoon, lost everything, several of her fellow citizens offered her accommodation or basic clothing. Because here it is a village, it is a common good which has just gone up in smoke and no one can look away without a gesture of mutual aid.

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