Rescue personnel work at the scene where a building collapsed in the southern French port city of Marseille early on April 9, 2023. (PHOTO / AFP)
PARIS – French rescue services were searching for victims and trying to put out a fire after an explosion caused a residential building to collapse in the centre of Marseille in the early hours of Sunday, with six injured identified so far.
The cause of the explosion is not yet known.
The collapse sparked a fire which has complicated rescue efforts, mayor Benoit Payan said. Two nearby buildings have partially collapsed.
"I would like us to prepare for a difficult situation – we could have victims today," Payan said, adding that five of the six injured are in hospital in a "relatively urgent" situation.
Firefighters were continuing to tackle the blaze and 80 people have been evacuated, according to the rescue services.
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"The fire makes it harder to find the victims," Commander Laurent of the rescue services in Marseille told BFMTV.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin was due at the scene.