Six people have been confirmed dead after a building blast occurred in Paris and reduced half of a residential block to wreckage. Rescue workers have been searching throughout the evening for two people reported missing after an explosion demolished an apartment building.
The victims included a 10-year-old boy, a mother, two teenagers ages 14 and 18, a 45-year-old woman and another adult. Firefighters were still inspecting the remnants of the four-story building in hopes of finding two other people that were still missing in the rubble.
Mayor Claude Capillon said that the rescue operation would continue until the individuals that were missing are accounted for. “There is still hope,” he said. Capillon did say, however, that the longer time passed, the more the chances of locating any survivors drops.
About 40 firefighters and other additional rescue workers dug through rubble and ruins of the structure with the assistance of sniffer dogs. The apartment building was almost split in two, showing family pictures, toilet seats, wallpaper and other items left subject to the outdoors.
Resident neighbors near the Paris apartment building said that the blast which caused six deaths occurred at about 7:00 a.m. (0500 GMT) Sunday. The explosion was powerful enough to shake buildings almost 100 yards away. Rescue workers continued to search for survivors and stated that they will not give up until the two missing people have been located.
Investigators are still trying to determine the cause behind the explosion, but report that it could have been an accidental gas detonation. The company, GRDF, in charge of maintaining the gas to the homes stated that no leaks had been documented previously in that area. Maryline Yyvon was confident that the explosion was definitely the result of a gas leak. She said that workers from the company had been digging under the sidewalk immediately in front of the apartment building where the explosion happened.
One neighbor claimed that the blast was so loud that it left them with their ears ringing. 55-year-old Ghislaine Poletto said that she rushed to the building and with the help of a few other residents were able to pull two children out of the wreckage. One of the children was spared because he was protected by a mattress and a board directly over his head, which amazingly saved his life, she said.
A total of 11 people have been reported injured from the incident, four of whom were seriously hurt. Gaetan de Raucourt, head of the firefighting department in Paris, mentioned there was hope saying that it was possible residents had found air pockets among the concrete and wood pieces. “We still have hope of finding some survivors,” he said.
The terrible blast in an apartment building in Paris left six dead and others missing on Sunday. Workers are still searching for survivors but are doing so delicately since the remaining structure left standing is threatening to cave in. A makeshift shelter has been set up at a nearby school with first aid and a medical team for families suffering from injuries from the explosion.
By Amy Nelson
Channel News Asia