Eight individuals are believed to be buried beneath the rubble of two buildings that collapsed in Marseille early on Sunday morning, according to local officials.
Prosecutor Dominique Laurens said that the cause of the detonation in the southern French city was still unknown.
She told a news conference on Sunday evening that the fire, which has complicated rescue efforts and investigations, has not yet been brought under control.
Television footage depicted clouds of smoke rising from the debris as more than one hundred firefighters attempted to extinguish the blaze, while trained dogs searched for victims. A crane and lamps aided the emergency personnel.
Five patients with severe but non-life-threatening injuries were transported to the hospital. The interior minister, Gérald Darmanin, stated that thirty buildings in the area were evacuated during his visit to the site.
It is unknown how many individuals were inside the buildings that collapsed. “Not all the individuals who were allegedly inside have been spotted. Families are anxious,” said Olivier Klein, the French housing minister.
The mayor of Marseille said that rescue personnel were “determined” to locate survivors. Benoit Payan stated, “We must hold on to hope,”
In 2018, two dilapidated structures in the working-class district of Noailles collapsed in Marseille, killing eight people. It shed a severe light on the city’s housing standards, with aid organizations estimating that 40,000 individuals reside in substandard structures.