By Renaud Vilafranca
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You can easily guess the intensity of the flames when you see, on the edge of the RD113, the charred carcass of what remains of this famous restaurant in Orgeval. The week of the Berriri couple, managers of l’Idéal des gourmandsravaged by fire Sunday, September 18, 2022, was devoted to meetings with experts and administrative procedures to lay off the 80 or so employees of the establishment. When we passed by on Wednesday, workers and relatives were busy in the rubble to evacuate the debris and secure the premises.
Two salaried employees
The fire broke out around 6:30 p.m. in the dining room, when a 22-year-old employee was handling a can of ethanol, presumably near a heat source. The liquid ignited, an explosion sounded. 80% burned, the young woman, transformed into a human torch, was hospitalized in critical condition. The evolution of his state of health could not be specified to us. Two of his colleaguesmore slightly injured while trying to save her from the flames, are rescued.
“We really appreciate this employee. It is an excellent element. We obviously think a lot about her and her loved ones at the moment,” says Jérôme Berriri, who, in 2017 with his wife, created L’Idéal des gourmands, la combination of a rather upmarket restaurant, a delicatessen and a pastry shop.
1,500m2 premises destroyed
The fire destroyed 1,500 m2 2500m2 of premises, including dining room and the storage area. The rear part of the establishment, which notably houses the laboratory, was spared, the progression of the flames having been stopped by the fire doors.
Behind the human tragedy with this very seriously injured young woman, there is also an economic disaster. Orgeval employees will be placed on technical unemployment for an indefinite period. The concept of L’Idéal des gourmands is also available in Saint-Germain-en-Laye and Montgeron (Essonne). Establishments supplied with catering products by the central kitchen at the Orgeval sitewhich, although spared by the flames, is at a standstill due to lack of water and electricity supply.
“It’s 30 to 40% of products that we can no longer supply,” explains Jérôme Berriri. The couple of managers must therefore also face this difficulty.
Various expert appraisals were therefore carried out on the damaged building during the week. According to initial findings, the the very structure of the building is affected. This would require the demolition and then the reconstruction of the site.
“We will be reborn from our ashes as soon as possible. We benefit from a tremendous outpouring of solidarity from anonymous people on social networks and from neighboring merchants. We are very touched. »
The site is such that it is impossible today to say when the Orgeval establishment, which housed up to 1,000 customers per day, will reopen. The investigation, entrusted to the gendarmerie, is still in progress to better understand the origin of the fire and to determine if all the safety rules have been respected.
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