Former Annecy artistic director, tv presenter, and head of Lobster Films, Serge Bromberg, was sentenced to five years in prison, four of them suspended, for his involvement in a nitrate reel fire that killed two people in August 2020.
Bromberg will never see the inside of a prison cell, however, as he will be allowed to serve his one-year term under house arrest under electronic monitoring.
Elsa Crozatier, a lawyer for one of the victim’s families, stated her disappointment after the sentence was announced: “For the victims, it will never be acceptable to see that someone who killed their loved one will not go to detention. It would be important for Mr. Bromberg to withdraw from public life.”
Bromberg’s lawyer Emmanuel Mercinier said that they are considering an appeal of the sentence, which he described as “far from lenient.”
In addition to the five-year sentence, Bromberg’s company Lobster Films was fined €150,000, a figure requested by the prosecution.
Bromberg was put on trial for manslaughter, involuntary injury, endangerment of others, and involuntary destruction of property by fire in November of last year. According to France’s TV5 Monde, during the summer of 2020, he was storing nitrate film reels in the basement of a building that didn’t have a fire alarm or appropriate climate controls to house such flammable materials. When the reels caught fire, one person living in an apartment above the basement was killed by the flames and another died jumping from the fourth floor trying to escape.
On the third day of the trial, Bromberg himself took the stand and accepted full responsibility for the fire and the two resulting deaths saying, “I would like to say that I am solely responsible for this tragedy. It is my fault and it is exclusively my fault. I am unforgivable and I hardly dare to ask for forgiveness.”