French authorities said, on Monday, that two bodies were found at night under the rubble following an explosion that collapsed a building in the southern French city of Marseille, while rescuers continued to search for at least six people whose fate was unknown.
The firefighters cited “the particular difficulties of the intervention” and indicated in a press release that the judicial authority would determine the identity of the victims.
“The pain and sadness are great,” Marseille Mayor Benoit Payne wrote on Twitter on Monday, expressing his thoughts for the families of the victims and “the sufferers.”
“Rescue and search operations continue unabated,” he said.
Payne told French media that more than 100 firefighters were on the scene searching for at least six people believed to be trapped in the five-storey building. “There is still hope,” he said, that survivors will be found.
Lorenz said the scorching wreckage was so hot that the fire crew’s dogs were unable to work until Sunday afternoon, and the smoke still bothered them.
An investigation into unintentional injuries was opened, at least initially to avoid possible criminal intent. The public prosecutor added that a gas explosion was among the topics of the investigation.
The collapse occurred shortly before 1 am on Sunday in an old area in the center of Marseille, France’s second city, less than a kilometer from its famous old port. About 200 people have been evacuated from their homes in the area.
In 2018, two buildings collapsed in central Marseille, killing eight people. The home secretary said these buildings weren’t well maintained – the building that collapsed on Sunday wasn’t.