At least seven people, including two children, were killed in a building explosion and fire in southwestern France, the country’s interior minister said on Monday.
The blast occurred in the town of Saint-Laurent-de-la-Salanque in the Pyrenees-Orientales region on the border with Spain.
A 27-year-old man was seriously injured after throwing himself from an upper-floor window trying to escape, according to La Voix du Nord daily. Three others with minor injuries were also counted by firefighters at the scene.
A total of 85 firefighters attended to the disaster, which started in a grocery-sandwich shop at the base of the building and affected at least 11 surrounding apartments, the daily and fire department said.
The fire quickly spread to the small two-story buildings on either side of the street. Even after a half- hour ablaze, officials reported that entry to the building was nearly impossible.
Interior Minister Gerard Darmanin reached the site of the incident, interrupting a trip to Montpellier.
“I give my full support to the mobilized state services and the inhabitants. Thoughts to the victims and their loved ones,” Darmanin said on Twitter.
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