“The goal is not to question every story, but to put the puzzle back in the right direction.” The young man advancing to the bar immediately impresses with his sporty figure, his close-cropped hair and his breath, which he cleverly holds to prevent tears from splitting his speech. He is a soldier with the Paris Fire Brigade and absolutely wants his identity to be hidden. But we know the essentials: he was 26 when he was on duty at the Parmentier barracks on 13 November 2015 for a general emergency on rue Alibert (10).and arrondissement). It was there that he, his red truck and his two colleagues were surprised by the first attack on the terraces of the Carillon bar and restaurant Petit Cambodge.
Since Wednesday, May 4, and for the following two weeks, the specially composed Assize Court has been questioning all the civil parties and “unfortunate witnesses” who have not wanted or could not take a position in the months of October and November.
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The exercise can result in a repeated, even uncertain parade. With this young firefighter, it’s not like that. With his story, he actually addresses the bereaved families, those who wonder about the “sorting” that the relief workers were supposed to perform, and also those who, in the wake of November 13, 2015, had been able to criticize. “young firefighters paralyzed over attacks” seems overwhelmed by events.
At the trial on November 13, Judge Trévidic’s statement of duty was: “We were able to manage 250 people, not 2,000.”
Initially, the intervention at 9.11pm consisted of picking up an employee of a grocery store injured after a fall. The truck was parked. The person to be cared for had just been taken inside. Suddenly, “a firework, a terrible noise, metallic, cold, dry” : “I understand that this time is for me. We are facing an attack”says the young man who on the night of the attacks was in charge of an ambulance as a corporal.
One hundred and twenty-one cartridges are fired in two and a half minutes. Dozens of people on earth. »I request the red plan via radio, says the young soldier. I realize the damage from a very professional point of view. I’m doing a first triage. Then I feel the feeling rise. I’m starting to drop the firefighter for what I’m going through and what people have been through “. In particular one woman was shot in the face. She is in front of him. By midnight thirteen will die, ten absolute emergencies will be counted.
The indelible mark of the attacks
“Sacrifice as a man and as a firefighter”says the soldier, like all those who before him paraded here the indelible imprint of the attacks: after three hours on the spot he went in “leaves a carelessness[il] do not find “after seeing “the worst the world is capable of”.
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He will be rewarded, rewarded. And will crack later, during a memorial service for the anniversary of the attacks. Like “the worst the world is capable of” sometimes adorning himself with the most beautiful and false subtleties, he will that day fall into tears in the arms of a woman: Alexandra. In fact, a “false victim” got mixed up with the real ones to build his legend. “How can this be exploited? We are in the inhumanity of the world”slips the young firefighter.
At the trial of the November 13 attacks: “Beware of the living”
Recognized as a victim and finally granted compensation under a March 2019 text that opens up new rights for soldiers, police officers and firefighters, the young man talks about his exhaustion, his fatigue, the daily horrors that invite themselves into his sentimental life. .
“I did what I could”
But the most important thing is not there. He continues on to an essential chapter that is still a bit explored: “To the families of the deceased I will say to you: I know you without knowing you. I had to make choices. I am here to make it clear that we did what we could. I did what I could. The attack lasted two and a half minutes. One minute after the attack began, I called for reinforcements. With radio. It was instantaneous. Much faster than the 18. Could not get faster. As a 26-year-old I had all these lives that depended on my decision. “With three firefighters, we could not take care of everyone.”
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These remarks are aimed at responding to the testimonies that had evoked the facts from the “children”, young police officers or firefighters who were confronted with unprecedented attacks. The soldier admits to having been “At times stunned” but insists: “We were in action, no one was lying in a corner. We were there from the first second. I had lived in a peaceful country for twenty-six years. We are human. A 45-year-old firefighter could not have done better.”
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The young firefighter has stopped the interventions just to train, but everything remains raw. He had first asked for a week off from work after the fact. The trial, on the other hand, has aroused everything. On February 14, he had to stop and be in treatment. Talking makes him feel comfortable. He will turn the page. On Monday, he returns to work.