when the rocket causes a fire

IFamilies who dream of a big wedding have an interest in contacting an event agency: it will take care of everything, and will be held responsible… for any damage, as shown – cynically – by the following case.

On Saturday, July 28, 2018, the X celebrate their wedding, with a hundred guests, in an area of ​​Oise. They asked the Cap Events agency to organize everything (rental of the area, entertainment, babysitting, etc.), for the sum of 58,000 euros.

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During the evening, the parents of the bride ask the manager of the agency, Mrs.me Y, if it is possible to shoot a firework, with a automatic kit » which they bought themselves and brought. Mme Y asks permission from the person in charge of the area, who gives it, provided that the rockets are fired near the body of water. Mr. Z, an employee of Cap Events and holder of a fireworks certificate, said that there would be no danger in doing so in the yard. He gets permission.

Alas, an incandescent element, coming from a rocket fired 10 meters from a bicentenary ash tree 30 meters high, fell back into this tree and set it on fire. During the night, the firefighters manage to control the fire, but they order the evacuation of the premises, until the tree, which threatens to fall, is pruned in emergency then dismantled into pieces, and finally debited.


Insurance experts put the amount of the claim at 16,000 euros (which includes relocation for the night guests and the planting of a new tree). But who should pay for it? The lessor assigns Cap Events, its tenant in title – and not the parents of the bride -, so that she is condemned to it.

The contract drawn up between the two companies indeed says that “the client (Cap Events) will be held responsible for all damage caused by himself, his employees or his guests”. The lessor invokes article 1733 of the civil code, according to which the lessee “responsible for the fire, unless he proves” that this one “happened by fortuitous event or force majeure”.

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Cap Events’ lawyer, Mr.e Ivan Itzkovitch – himself a pyrotechnician – replies that the fire resulted from the “force majeure”, and that the lessor’s insurance must come into play. He emphasizes the fact that “Mr. Z has not committed any fault”the fallout of the incandescent debris being “accidental”according to experts, who do not have “noted a non-respect of the rules of distance”.

Point of view that the magistrates do not share: “By not opposing the shooting, and by agreeing to carry it out (…) near the tree and the accommodation premises, when he was aware of the inevitable repercussions of this service, the employee of the company Cap Events committed a fault for which his employer must answer “, affirms the Court of Appeal of Amiens (Somme), on November 22, 2022. Cap Events is therefore ordered to pay the 16,000 euros. Her insurer, Albingia, does not have to cover her: her contract, in fact, opportunely excluded… “damage to plants”.

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