PARIS (Sep. 28)
The Black September organization in Beirut today claimed responsibility for a fire which killed a 55-year-old employee and completely destroyed the huge Publics Drug Store on the Champs-Elysees last night. French police authorities do not believe, however, that the fire resulted from terrorist action. The police chief said that first reports seemed to indicate the fire was caused by either an electrical breakdown or a carelessly thrown cigarette in the rubbish bins in the back part of the building.
Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet, a prominent member of the French Jewish community, is administrative director-general of the Publicis Advertising Company and president of the administrative council of Regis-Presse, both of which are located in the drug store building. The fire which spread rapidly destroyed the drug store and the Studio Publicis Cinema located on the ground floor of the building. Neighboring buildings, including the offices of British European Airways, the French railroad tourist office, and the Paris tourist office were also seriously damaged. The fire broke out at about 11 p.m. and was under control by 1:24 a.m., police reported.