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Trial opens on French factory blast that killed 31

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Trial opens on French factory blast that killed 31

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Victims of a chemicals factory explosion in the southern French town of Toulouse eight years ago have welcomed the start of the trial into the incident.

The 2001 blast, which claimed 31 lives and seriously wounded 2,500 people, was Europe’s worst industrial disaster in recent years. One man said all he wanted was the truth. “But I would be surprised if we were told all the truth, how it happened and everything. I don’t think that will happen,” he said. “I want my house back,” said one woman. “And some kind of moral compensation. It has been eight long and hard years.” A unit of the French industrial giant Total, which owned the fertiliser plant, and its former manager, face charges including involuntary homicide and causing injury and destruction of property. Around 1,000 people have also filed a civil lawsuit. The trial, which is taking part in a municipal hall large enough to seat everyone, will be recorded on video and is expected to last four months.