Autobus-da-fé in a Paris Banlieue

On a bus in a suburb east of Paris, a man of unspecified ethnicity doused a woman with an accelerant and set her on fire. The perpetrator is assumed to be mentally deranged, and without any rational motive for his heinous act.

Note: the only witness to the event who is quoted in this story is named Ali.

Many thanks to Gary Fouse for translating this article from Le Parisien:

“There were huge flames,”: A man tries to set a woman on fire at Noisy-le-Sec

On a bus, a woman was sprayed with a flammable liquid by a man who lit her on fire. A suspect has been arrested.

[Photo caption: Salengro-Auffret bus 145 stop at Noisy-le-Sec on March 7. The day before, a man tried to set a woman on fire here on a bus.]

March 7, 2021

A woman of 54 was seriously injured on a bus in Noisy-le-Sec (Seine-Saint-Denis) Saturday evening by a man who sprayed her with a flammable liquid before setting her on fire and fleeing.

Her partner, who was accompanying her, and the bus driver were also injured. A suspect, age 41, was arrested and placed in custody Sunday morning. An aggravated case of attempted voluntary homicide has been opened and assigned to the Judicial Police of Seine-Saint-Denis (SDPJ 93), states the Bobigny Prosecutor’s Office.

At about 19:15 a man, for unexplained reasons, sprayed a flammable liquid — probably gasoline — on a woman on bus 145, by the Salengro-Auffret stop at Noisy-le-Sec. The attacker then set his victim on fire before fleeing.

“Stop! Stop!”

Alerted by cries, Ali, 16, hurried to his window, on the third floor of an apartment building located in front of the bus stop. “There were huge flames in the bus. It smelled like burning. A man was shouting, Stop! Stop!”. It was very shocking,” the adolescent recounted Sunday.

The woman in her 50s, who lives at Villeparisis (Seine-et-Marne), was urgently transported to the hospital with burns on her scalp and neck. But her injuries are not life-threatening. “She should leave the hospital this Sunday,” the prosecutor stated. Her partner, who was accompanying her, was burned on his hands in trying to quickly extinguish the fire. This man and the bus driver were hampered by the gas from an extinguisher used to contain the fire.

This Sunday morning the 41-year-old man, known by police, was arrested and placed in custody. At this stage the investigators lean towards the theory of “an isolated act by an unbalanced person, inexplicable, with no connection to a settling of scores between gangs,” according to a police source.

On Facebook, the SUD Union of Security RATP disseminated a video taken just after the attack, where you see a man try to extinguish the flames with an extinguisher. These images, extensively shared, aroused emotion on social media. The PCF mayor of Noisy-le-Sec, Olivier Sarrabeyrouse, said he was “scandalized, moved and saddened by this drama.” “Every means will be mobilized to find the perpetrators of this odious attack,” the Prefecture of Police of Paris tweeted this Sunday morning.

“At Noisy-le-Sec last night, a man and a woman were attacked on a bus by individuals who set them on fire by spraying a flammable liquid on them. Every means will be mobilized to find the perpetrators of this odious attack. The investigation is in progress by SDPJ 93 (Judiciary Police).