An explosion collapsed a residential five-story building in France’s port city of Marseille on Sunday just before 1 a.m. and a fire on the rubble followed. More than one hundred firefighters and rescuers arrived quickly at the scene but for many hourd was unclear if anyone was killed. It was however believed that several people were trapped under debris. Trained dogs were used to try to locate victims. French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin arrived at the scene later Sunday morning. Residents were evacuated from two neighboring buildings that partially collapsed too in the blast. Rescuers have found later two burned bodies in the rubble. Six injured people were transported to hospital.
Local residents told they perceived a smell of gas in the air. The cause of the explosion was not yet determined, prosecutor Dominique Laurens of Marseille said in a press conference. „I am thinking of those affected and their loved ones. An investigation is continuing with significant resources deployed. Thank you to the firefighters and rescuers mobilized,” President Macron declared. It stil exists the risk of other collapses of damaged buildings in the area. Previously, in 2018, around 1 kilometer from the tragedy, three buildings considered not fit for habitation collapsed, killing eight people.