MARSEILLE, France (AFP) — French prosecutors said Wednesday that the public housing agency for the southern port city of Marseille has been charged with manslaughter over the collapse of two apartment buildings two years ago that left eight people dead.
The disaster sparked an outpouring of fury from residents, who accused city officials of long ignoring their complaints about unsafe and unsanitary housing.
Marseille's public prosecutor Dominique Laurens said the housing agency was charged with "involuntary manslaughter through a deliberate violation of security obligations."
The Mediterranean city's semi-public housing development company was hit with the lesser charges of involuntary injuries and endangering people's lives. Under French law, the filing of charges does not necessarily lead to a trial.
Huge cracks had appeared in one of the buildings before it suddenly crumbled on November 5, 2018, in Noailles, a working-class district of the city.
The other building had been condemned and boarded up because of safety risks, and the disaster also prompted the partial collapse of a third building, forcing officials to evacuate dozens of people.
The disaster spurred emergency inspections of dilapidated public housing blocks across Marseille, although city officials rejected any responsibility for the collapse.
© Agence France-Presse