PARIS – Rescue teams have found the body of a woman buried under the rubble of a building where a powerful explosion ripped apart a bakery in Paris, lifting to four the number of fatalities in the accident, France’s Prosecutor told EFE on Sunday.
The savage blast also killed two firefighters who were caught in the detonation as they tried to contain flames fueled by a gas leak in the premises as well as a Spanish woman tourist who had been staying at a hotel opposite the bakery.
Firefighters had attended the scene after neighbors had alerted them about the gas leak.
Emergency services had said they were still looking for a missing person just minutes before the woman’s body was discovered, officials said.
Eric Moulin, a spokesman for the fire services, said the rescue was being conducted “by hand, lifting one stone at a time,” while sniffer dogs also attended.
The blast-affected building must be reinforced from top to bottom and neighbors will not be able to enter nearby buildings until architects confirm that there is no structural damage that could cause a collapse.
Some 30 firefighters were still at the scene in Rue Trevise on Sunday and were likely to remain there for “at least 48 hours, or maybe all week,” Moulin said.
Paris City Council said in a statement there were currently 12 buildings that could not be entered.
In addition, several nearby buildings have had their water supply cut off and vehicles will not be able to park in the street until the risk of falling glass is dealt with, it said.
“All the inhabitants have found lodgings,” said Mayor Anne Hidalgo, adding that “38 people who needed emergency housing have been offered accommodation in hotels by the municipality.”