• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Two killed after blast hits apartment block

A four-storey building has collapsed after being rocked by an explosion, killing at least two people, in a north-eastern suburb of Paris.

Desperate Search: Emergency workers hunt through the rubble after a blast destroyed an apartment block in Paris. Picture: EPA
Desperate Search: Emergency workers hunt through the rubble after a blast destroyed an apartment block in Paris. Picture: EPA

Ten people, including four seriously wounded, were evacuated from the rubble of the building but an eight-year-old child and 80-year-old woman died.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, who arrived at the site, said it appeared the explosion occurred because of a gas leak, but said he could not confirm that theory.

He added: "We should be prudent, because there are investigations on-going. There is no certainty."

About another ten people could still be underneath the rubble and rescue workers using dogs were scouring the scene of devastation in a bid to find anyone still alive but trapped in what was left of the block. Mr Cazeneuve said: "We could still find living victims in the hours to come."

One side of the buidling was ripped off completely, exposing the interiors of the apartments inside.

Colonel Bernard Turner, in charge of the rescue operation, said that "debris removal may take 24 to 48 hours" and "we have a good chance of finding victims alive under the rubble."

The tragedy happened at around 7am on Saturday. The block contained shops and apartments.

One thing rescuers do not know is how many people were in the apartment block as August is traditionally vacation season in France and some residents may have been out of town.

Mr Cazeneuve said his thoughts went out to the victims of those killed in the tragedy and French Prime Minister Manuel Valls also expressed his sadness.

Contextual targeting label: 
Fire

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

258430