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Criminal investigation launched after fire partially destroys French vaccination centre

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The blaze broke out at the CMCL vaccination centre in Gap, Hautes-Alpes.
The blaze broke out at the CMCL vaccination centre in Gap, Hautes-Alpes.   -   Copyright  Police Nationale 05
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French authorities have launched a criminal investigation after a fire partially destroyed a COVID-19 vaccination centre.

The blaze broke out on Tuesday night at the centre in Gap, the largest town in the Hautes-Alpes region.

The fire was first detected at 03:30 CET and was quickly extinguished by the authorities, although the building did suffer some damage.

Gap's mayor, Roger Didier, said the flames had burned some of the vaccine installations inside the community hall.

Authorities suspect the fire may have been an arson attack, as some of the damaged furniture had been piled together and burned.

"The criminal trail is getting thicker ... because a door was forced open," Gap prosecutor Florent Crouhy told AFP. The judicial investigation has now been handed over to local police.

On Wednesday, the town announced that it had quickly moved the vaccination centre to the nearby Alp Arena ice-skating rink.

Investigators have also questioned whether the fire in Gap is linked to another blaze at a vaccine centre in nearby Nyons in May.