One dead, 4 injured in powerful gas blast in northern France

French firefighters © Regis Duvignau
A strong explosion caused part of a residential building to collapse in the town of Nonacourt in northern France, killing one resident and injuring at least four.

One person died when they were buried under the rubble of the building, the town’s sub-prefect reported according to AFP.

Rescuers have managed to identify the person who was buried from under the rubble, but he passed away. According to our information, nobody else should be under the rubble, but we will continue removing it until the whole area is cleared,” he is quoted as saying.

Le Point, citing police sources, reports that four people have been injured.

A person, who was in the apartment next to the one where the explosion occurred, has been wounded and is now hospitalized, with non-life-threatening injuries.

Another resident, who was in the apartment where the explosion occurred, was rescued from the rubble; she is in shock, injured but not seriously,” the source was quoted as saying. 

It is thought that the cause of the blast may have been a gas explosion.

Ambulance crews and some 140 firefighters are at the scene, working to recover more victims. Four emergency helicopters have been deployed to the location.

About 30 residents have been evacuated from the building following the blast, local media report.

According to witnesses, the building’s residents had reported a persistent odor of gas in recent days. An ERDF technical team had visited the site to conduct an inspection on Friday, but reportedly left the premises without locating the leakage.

Nonacourt is a town in the Eure department in Haute-Normandie in northern France.