According to the local fire brigade, two bodies were recovered from the debris of a building that was destroyed in an explosion on Sunday in the southern French port city of Marseille. It is unclear if the two bodies found are part of the eight individuals missing, perhaps trapped, as reported.
At about 12:30 a.m. local time, a “violent explosion” shook the structure, prompting a search and rescue operation while police examined the source of the blast, as reported by Marseille Mayor Benoît Payan.
Rescue workers told BFM that 179 individuals had to be removed from the premises before the French Housing Authority declared the area safe. French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin told BFM that a fire blazing within the rubble is making rescue efforts more difficult.
Darmanin added that rescue workers worry that water used in firefighting could harm buried survivors. Residents reported hearing an explosion and seeing a large cloud of dust and smelling gas.
It was a lot of work and really bonkers. A witness who spoke to BFM on condition of anonymity said, “I saw an avalanche of people panicking in the street, and then I started fleeing like mad.”Darmanin estimates that about 30 additional buildings in the area have also been cleared.
Marseille Public Prosecutor At a press conference on Sunday 9 April, Dominique Laurens claimed it was “difficult” to identify what caused the explosion at this time since “the situation has not yet been stabilized.” She mentioned that the possibility of a “gas explosion” was being looked into, but that it was “something we can’t confirm at this level of the investigation.”
On Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his condolences to the victims. Prayers for the people of Marseille, where a structure fell last night on Rue Tivoli. Those involved and their loved ones are in my thoughts and prayers. Significant resources have been committed to an ongoing investigation. He then thanked the responding firefighters and rescue workers.
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According to the Aix-Marseille-Provence Metropolis, regional authorities have provided a fund of 100,000 euros ($110,000) to aid bomb victims, as reported. BFMTV further says that an investigation into “unintentional injuries” has been initiated by the prosecutor’s office in Marseille.
Such attacks have happened before in Marseille. At least four individuals were murdered in the Noailles neighborhood building fall in 2018, according to CNN.
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