Eight people are feared trapped under the rubble of two buildings collapsed after an explosion in the south of France, officials say
- More than 17 hours after the explosion, “the situation has not yet stabilized,” authorities say
- Eight people of concern to authorities have not answered calls
Eight people are feared to be trapped under the rubble after their house exploded and later brought down part of a neighboring building near the port of Marseille.
More than 100 firefighters worked to douse flames deep in the rubble of the five-story building after the explosion occurred shortly before 1 a.m. on Sunday.
But more than 17 hours later, “the situation has not yet stabilized,” Marseille prosecutor Dominique Laurens told reporters.
Earlier in the day, officials thought between four and 10 people were detained. The eight people authorities are now concerned about have not answered calls.
Ms Laurens said police have yet to confirm the apparent disappearance of a ninth person who lived in an adjacent building. Five people were slightly injured in the collapse.
Eight people are feared to be trapped under the rubble after the building they lived in exploded
More than 100 firefighters worked to put out the flames deep in the rubble of the five-story building
Drones and probes have been used to examine the scene for signs of life
Marseille mayor Benoit Payan said two buildings sharing walls with the one that collapsed were partially knocked down before one later collapsed, another complication in the search and rescue operation.
The buildings on rue Tivoli were among those evacuated.
Drones, probes and sniffer dogs have been used to examine the scene for signs of life.
“We cannot intervene in a very classical way,” Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said during a morning visit to the site.
He added that the fire was burning a few feet below the rubble and that both water and foam pose a threat to the survival of the victims.
A gas explosion is one of the theories being investigated, Ms Laurens said, the prosecutor said. But the probe’s launch was also limited by the heat of the fire.
“The flames weren’t pink. They were blue,’ Payan said.
The explosion took place near the port of Marseille in the south of France
More than 17 hours later, “the situation has not yet stabilized,” Marseille prosecutor Dominique Laurens told reporters
The collapsed building is located in a narrow street 800 meters from the old port of Marseille, adding to a series of problems for firefighters and rescuers
Firefighters, with the help of urban rescue experts, worked all night and all day Sunday in a race against time.
The delicate operation was designed to keep firefighters safe, prevent further damage to people who may be trapped in the rubble, and not endanger vulnerable nearby buildings that have already partially collapsed.
About 30 buildings in the area were evacuated, Darmanin said.
Rescue workers were on site late last night. Plumes of dust were seen rising from the rubble
Rescue vehicles struggled to reach the building over narrow roads
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin visited the site of the explosion today
An excavator removes rubble in ‘rue Tivoli’ after the building collapsed
Dust and smoke filled the air in the street of Marseille
Firefighters, with the help of urban rescue experts, worked all night and all day Sunday in a race against time
The collapsed building is located in a narrow street 800 meters from Marseille’s Old Port, adding to a series of problems for firefighters and rescuers.
The prosecutor said the building and neighbors “are not substandard buildings at all.”
French President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne both said in tweets that their thoughts were with those affected and thanked the firefighters.
TV footage showed clouds of smoke and dust rising from the razed building.