(CTN News) – In a report published on Sunday, the Marseille fire department reported that rescue workers found the bodies of two people among the debris of a building that collapsed after a “gas explosion” in the southern French city.
In response to the explosion in Marseille, French authorities have earlier reported that at least eight people may have been trapped due to the explosion. In spite of this, it remains unclear whether the authorities have included the two bodies found in their tally of the dead.
As Mayor Benoît Payan explained, the building was the scene of a violent explosion which occurred at 12:30 a.m. local time after which the rescue teams and authorities started investigating the cause of the explosion.
There have been 179 evacuations of people from the site, according to the French Housing Authority, according to BFM, which reported the story.
A French Interior Minister named Gerald Darmanin told BFM on his visit to the collapsed building that due to the fire that is burning in the debris, rescue teams have been unable to conduct their operations and that around 30 buildings surrounding the collapse have been evacuated as a result.
As Darmanin pointed out, rescuers are also concerned about firefighting water endangering the lives of any survivors buried under the debris.
There was a loud explosion heard in the area before dust was seen in the air as a result of the explosion, as reported by the residents of the area.
An eyewitness at the scene told BFM that it was exhausting and totally insane. “I saw an avalanche of panicked people in the street, and as soon as I saw them, I started running,” he said.
According to the Prosecutor of Marseille, Dominique Laurens, in a statement in a press conference on Sunday, it is not possible to pinpoint what caused the explosion, and the situation is far from being stabilized.
According to her, one potential cause of the incident is a gas explosion, but it is something that we are not able to confirm at this point in time.
Emmanuel Macron, while grieving the incident, said that he “is thinking of those affected and their loved ones. An investigation is underway with significant resources being deployed. A great thank you goes out to the firefighters and rescuers who mobilized.”
As reported by BFMTV, the Aix-Marseille-Provence Metropolis has announced that a fund of €100,000 ($110,000) has been provided to help the victims of the blast, and that the money belongs to the regional authorities, according to the Aix-Marseille-Provence Metropolis.
Additionally, it was reported that the Marseille prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation into the possibility of “unintentional injury” to the victim.
There has been a number of such incidents in the city over the years. Earlier this year, Reported that several buildings collapsed in Marseille’s Noailles district after a similar incident occurred in the city back in 2018.