The Marseille building collapsed, killing eight people

photo caption,

The heat and debris still hampered the search for survivors on Sunday night

Five people were injured and eight are still missing after an explosion flattened an apartment building in the southern French city of Marseille.

It is not yet known what caused the explosion. The building was destroyed shortly after midnight Sunday, and an adjacent building partially collapsed a few hours later.

It is possible that people may have died, said Benoît Bayan, the city’s mayor.

Nearly 200 people were evacuated from nearby buildings.

More than 100 firefighters were dispatched to quell the flames that followed the explosion. The fire burned for most of Sunday, and authorities warned the blaze could last for hours – although there were signs of subsiding by Sunday evening.

The fire hampered the search for the missing, which city prosecutors said included a “young couple” and “people of a certain age”.

The intense heat and dust prevented search dogs from picking up the rubble.

“We must be prepared to have victims,” ​​said Mr. Payne. Home Secretary Gerald Darmanin, who traveled to the city on Sunday, told the media he did not know if the missing people were alive or dead.

Local Attorney Dominic Lorenz confirmed to reporters that eight people were “not responding to phone calls,” adding that it was not yet possible to determine the cause of the collapse.

However, the authorities said that a gas leak is likely.

“Unlike anything you’ve heard before.”

Some said they heard the ground shake and smelled gas in the air.

“There was no danger notice for this building, not in a neighborhood identified as substandard housing,” said Christophe Mirmand, leader of the local authority in the Bouches-du-Rhône region.

In 2018, two houses collapsed on Rue Dupin, near the historic port of Marseille, killing eight people. The disaster exposed the city’s chronic housing problem and shocked France.

On Sunday Mr Payan said the weekend’s incident was not caused by structural problems with the buildings and therefore had “nothing to do with Duban Street”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *