|Firefighters work at the site where a large explosion in a garage destroyed the building as well as two neighbouring ones on February 6, 2021 in Bordeaux’ Chartrons district. – Initial investigations at the scene suggest gas was the cause of the explosion, which left at least two people missing. (Photo by MEHDI FEDOUACH / AFP)|
An 88-year-old woman was killed and her 89-year-old partner was seriously hurt during an explosion in a garage in the French city of Bordeaux on Saturday, firefighters said.
Initial investigations suggest gas was the cause of the blast, which destroyed the small building and seriously damaged two neighbouring buildings.
The woman had been listed as missing after the blast at around 8am in the Chartrons district of the western French city.
Firefighters said they found her body under rubble at around 4pm.
Her partner, the 89-year-old man, is fighting for his life, according to city officials.
A second person initially named as missing has since come forward.
So far nine other people have been identified with minor injuries following the blast.
About 70 firefighters were on the scene.
Emergency services used sniffer dogs and equipment to clear the debris in their search.
The explosion destroyed a car park and garage on the ground floor and lodgings on the floor above.
The windows of several nearby shops were blown out by the force of the blast.
Lucie Perrouault, 21, said she was scared when the windows “exploded”.
“The glass from our window was blown onto us, we stepped on glass and my boyfriend was injured,” she said.
Mael, 38, said she “was sleeping and I heard a great ‘boom’ — my bay window exploded”.
“I went outside and saw that an apartment had been blown up”.
While gas supplies to the district have been cut, “we don’t know yet whether it was the gas network or canisters” that caused the explosion, said Eric Destarac, a spokesman for gas distribution company Regaz.
Firefighters recovered some gas bottles from the garage, he added.
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