Fire system malfunction triggers panic and stampede in Louvre
The frenzy was not triggered by a real blaze, but rather a malfunction in the fire system. Following the incident, the Louvre took to its official account on Twitter to calm things down.
@_batou_ Bonjour, déclenchement intempestif des portes coupe-feu, d'où évacuation partielle du musée. Retour à la normale. Bonne visite !— Musée du Louvre (@MuseeLouvre) July 20, 2016
“The inadvertent activation of fire doors, led to the partial evacuation of the museum. Back to normal. Enjoy your visit!” the statement said.
My husband rang me to say he was caught in a stampede of people screaming,exiting the Louvre.He got out and helped others.That's all I know.— SUPPRESSED RAGE (@karmabangarda) July 20, 2016
The Louvre is the world’s largest museum with over nine million people visiting the French landmark annually.
Guards informed us that there was a security door malfunction. People reacted by running into bathrooms & locker rooms, creating a frenzy.— Alex Adelman (@alexadelman) July 20, 2016
Minutes of uncertainty at the iconic site were enough for people to think the worst.
Got caught in a stampede of screaming panicking people running out the Louvre. This holiday has been eventful.— rowan (@_r0wan_) July 20, 2016
“Got caught in a stampede of screaming panicking people running out the Louvre. This holiday has been eventful,” wrote one Twitter user who witnessed the evacuation.
Pictures of police inside the Louvre were posted online.
@justinjm1 100% true. Was just at the Louvre and caught in the stampede of people. Apparently false alarm though— Tim Doyle (@timmyd87) July 20, 2016
While not knowing the exact cause of the alarm, some of the attendants have been seeking shelter in the museum’s bathrooms and locker rooms.
The Louvre almost completely cleared out. pic.twitter.com/UMooydxnDk— Alex Adelman (@alexadelman) July 20, 2016
While rushing to safety, people knocked over a guard rail outside the entrance.
Some suggested the panic was even “a false terrorist alarm,” although the rumour turned out to be not true.
France is currently on high alert due to a wave of terror acts that shook the country over the past year and a half.
On July 14 a truck rammed into revelers who had been celebrating national holiday Bastille Day in the resort town of Nice. The driver of the truck, named by authorities as Mohamed Bouhlel, opened fire after smashing through the thick crowds with his vehicle.
Eighty-four people, including children died as a result, with hundreds more injured, Reuters said. French President Francois Hollande called the assault a “terror act”. The attacker was later killed in a shootout with police officers. Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) stated he had been one of its members, but evidence later emerged that he had been acting in a solo capacity and officials did not confirm any links.
Following the Nice carnage, lawmakers at the French National Assembly voted in favor of extending the state of emergency in the country for six months. The move now needs the backing of the country’s Senate.