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Child (8) killed in explosion at Paris building as death toll rises to six people

The four-storey building is now the site of a search-and-rescue operation.

Updated 7.25am

France Building Explosion PA Images PA Images

AN EIGHT-YEAR-old child and an octogenarian were killed and dozens injured in an explosion yesterday that reduced half of a four-storey residential block in a Paris suburb to rubble.

Six people have been confirmed dead so far.

Rescue workers are combing the site for people that are still unaccounted for, a spokesman for the French capital’s firefighter service said.

Early morning explosion

It was unclear how many people were in the building when the explosion rocked the street in the north-eastern suburb of Rosny-sous-Bois shortly before 8 am yesterday morning (0600 GMT), as some may still be away for the summer vacation.

A gas leak was likely to have been the cause of the blast, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and police said.

France Building Explosion AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

Gabriel Plus, a commander of the fire brigade, noted that there were gas works on site, although he would not draw a direct link with the disaster.

Among the fatalities is a child. An elderly woman also succumbed to her injuries.

“She died while we were extracting her from the rubble,” said Plus.

The force of the blast shook buildings as far as 100 metres from the site.

“Our house moved, we were trembling from fear,” said Pauline. The explosion was so loud that “our ears were ringing,” she added.

Others ran out into the street to help victims.

France Building Explosion AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

Ghislaine Poletto, 55, who lives about 50 metres away, said she “jumped into her trousers” and hurried to the site where together with neighbours “we managed to pull two children out”.

One of the children was “protected by a mattress and a board above his head which saved his life,” she said.

A nearby school has been requisitioned by local authorities to host families hit by the blast.

Deputy mayor Serge Deneulin said the building dates to the 1970s and was “in perfect shape”.

First published 31 August, 12.25pm 

- © AFP, 2014

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