Paris theater’s technical chief dies after explosions rip through musical rehearsal

AFP-JIJI

A Parisian theater’s technical director died of heart failure overnight after a power tool set off two explosions during a rehearsal for a musical, investigators said Saturday.

Marcus Toledano, 41, died after being taken to a hospital following the blast Friday evening, police said.

An initial search determined that the first explosion, which occurred near the stage shortly after 6:00 p.m., was caused when the disc of a circular power saw broke off and ignited fireworks stored nearby for use in the musical, “1789, the Lovers of the Bastille,” about the French Revolution.

Toledano was among several people who rushed to the scene, but a second explosion ensued, causing a wall and part of a ceiling to collapse. Several others were injured, five seriously, police said Friday.

The wounded were mostly stagehands who were setting up for the day’s 8:30 p.m. performance at the Palais des Sports in southwest Paris. It was immediately canceled following the blasts.

The show’s producer, Albert Cohen, said four employees who had to be hospitalized overnight were “out of danger” and would be discharged later Saturday. Several others received treatment, though some only to have their hearing checked.

Only cast and crew members were on site at the time, a theater employee said. About 100 firefighters and a dozen fire engines were deployed to the scene.