A four-storey building collapsed on a busy street in the center of the northern French town of Lille, near the Belgian border, on Saturday morning at 9.15am. At first the collapses did not appear to have caused any casualties as the homes were evacuated during the night after a warning. (A man coming back from a night out saw cracks appearing in the structure and reported the issue to emergency services. He has not been named by the authorities). One person was pulled from the rubble by Lille’s firefighters, with only light injuries. But rescue workers were searching through rubble for a missing doctor.
“We are almost certain that this person is in the rubble,” said fire service Lieutenant Colonel Stephane Beauventre. The building was divided into commercial and residential parts. After the collapse, the area was widely cordoned off and an adjacent hotel was evacuated.“I am still shaking, because if this gentleman hadn’t come home at 3am and contacted us, we wouldn’t have had this reaction and, well, there would have obviously been deaths,” Lille’s mayor, Martine Aubry, told media. An investigation is underway. In 2018, two dilapidated buildings collapsed in the southern French city of Marseille, killing eight people.