Emergency services in the French city of Marseille said they had found two lifeless bodies during rescue efforts taking place overnight from Sunday to Monday. Marseille firefighters discovered the two bodies in the rubble of collapsed buildings in the city’s Tivoli street, BFMTV television reported.
Search and rescue efforts will continue overnight, with “all teams” mobilized and “determined to help and find people alive,” city mayor Benoit Payan said hours earlier.
The French Public Prosecutor’s Office reported in a previous report on the victims that five people were injured and a total of eight are missing. “Eight people are not answering calls and are located at 17, Rue Tivoli. One of them is located on the garden level, between numbers 15 and 17”, explained prosecutor Dominique Laurens, according to the French press.
The victims would be “people of a certain age and a young couple in their 30s”, Laurens said at a press conference reported by local newspaper ‘La Provence’.
The prosecutor indicated that, at the moment, the causes of the explosion that caused the collapse are unknown. “The expert has not yet been able to access the site due to the risk it represents, as the situation has not yet stabilized. There are still very hot areas”, he explained.
A neighbor in the area reported that he heard “a huge explosion” and that upon approaching the area he saw “a lot of dust” and a “smell” of gas.
The fire has not yet been extinguished, which makes it difficult to search for possible survivors, had previously reported the French Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, who went to the scene of the incident.
Meanwhile, authorities have evacuated 199 people from neighboring residences, of which 99 are already at the Vallier gym, according to the BFMTV network. There were a total of 32 buildings evacuated and 163 people received healthcare.
“There is no one in danger of death,” emphasized Darmanin. “Around thirty buildings are affected by evictions,” he added. The flames while still burning under the rubble. “We have to check the capacity we have to control it and shut it down. It will probably take a few more hours (…). Maybe even more,” she indicated.
More than a hundred firefighters are still working to put out the flames in the two collapsed buildings. Numbers 15 and 17 on Rue Tivoli have collapsed and “19 is also threatening to collapse”, explained the mayor of Marseille, Benoît Payan.
On the other hand, Payan reiterated the difficulty of the operation. “We are facing an extremely rare phenomenon of fire that persists for several hours and very high temperatures. Dogs (trained in search of survivors) cannot look, see, feel what is happening, ”he explained.
According to the Minister of the Interior, the building was “in very good condition” and was not being investigated, underlined the mayor. In addition, Payan highlighted that there was a “tremendous explosion”.
A spokesman for Civil Security, Colonel Arnaud Wilm, reported after hours of work that “the fire is diminishing”, that it is “progressively decreasing in intensity”, which will allow rescuers to approach the rubble and use “robotized machines”. .
In addition, firefighters can now “drive the water sparingly into the heart of the chimney” thanks to this decrease in flame intensity.