IN IMAGES – Three buildings collapsed on Monday in a street in the city center. A race against the clock began to find potential survivors in the rubble. Mayor Jean-Claude Gaudin hopes "as few deaths as possible".
Several hours after the collapse of two buildings in the center of Marseille, relief workers are still hard at work to search for people trapped in the rubble. According to Julien Ruas, Deputy Mayor, the operations will continue all night and probably for several days. The Minister of the Interior, Christophe Castaner went on the spot in the evening. According to him, "eight people were likely to be in the buildings," he said, saying "not optimistic" about the situation. Among these individuals would be a woman who did not go to get her daughter to school and another woman "who never left her home", according to the president of the Paca region, Renaud Muselier. In addition, although it was not yet possible to know if they lived in one of the buildings that collapsed, two men were filmed on the sidewalk by a CCTV camera just before their collapse.
Operations continue in search of possible victims
Occurring around 9 am, the accident affected the numbers 63 and 65 of the rue d'Aubagne in the popular district of Noailles and slightly injured two passersby. The two buildings of four and five floors, very dilapidated, have given way to a huge pile of rubble and thick smoke caused by the collapse. A third building then collapsed by itself in the late afternoon. Nearly 100 firefighters mobilized to secure this district of the 1st district of Marseille and carry out research, supported by two teams cynotechniques. "What counts is that we find as few deaths as possible, but we think there will be," said the mayor LR Marseille, Jean-Claude Gaudin, referring to a "very serious" accident. "We are on a very delicate operation, there is a lot of rubble on the public road, including cars that have been buried," added the region prefect Pierre Dartout.
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A concern shared by Julien Denormandie who went there in the middle of the afternoon. "I am unable to say whether or not there are people trapped under the rubble," he said, adding that everything was done to "help, to provide help, to provide a solution. ". "There is a race against the clock taking place," he added. For his part, Emmanuel Macron expressed his "affection and solidarity of the whole Nation to the place of our compatriots, for this city, these territories, this region", in a speech delivered in Pont-à-Mousson , in Meurthe-et-Moselle.
From the middle of the day, the "census of individuals and families known as inhabitant of this building" was set up as explained by the prefect of police in Marseille, Olivier de Mazieres. Julien Ruas, deputy mayor, for his part, called the people impacted by the collapse "to go to the town hall for a resettlement solution" and as quickly as possible taking into account the announced storm. Earlier in the day, he said that one of the two buildings was the subject of a danger order for "ten days", "following a difficulty on a partition on the 1st floor." Its occupants therefore had to be evacuated. It was a municipal building, while for the second building, nine of the twelve apartments were inhabited, learned Le Figaro. According to the site MarsActu, "the city of Marseille was to install a micro-nursery of ten cradles" in the municipal building located at No. 63. "In contrast, the building of 65 was inhabited. A few minutes before the collapse, laundry was drying in the windows of the first floor ", can read on the site.
A third building collapsed
As a precaution, the authorities quickly evacuated "the few dozen people living in the two neighboring buildings," he told AFP Philippe Bianchi, spokesman for the police. "Structurally, the buildings in Marseille are held with each other so we do not want to take risks and we evacuate this island," said Julien Ruas. Very delicate operation: around 17H15, a third building joint, already very weakened and which threatened to collapse on the rescuers, collapsed "of himself" to 75%, explained the firefighters on Twitter. The building had been abandoned and walled since the summer of 2012.
The public prosecutor of Marseille, Xavier Tarabeux, seized the judicial police investigation of the accident to determine the exact causes of the tragedy. In a statement, the mayor of Marseille explains that this "dramatic accident could be due to heavy rains that have fallen" on the city in recent days. Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Bouches-du-Rhône deputy who went on site, said he wanted to avoid any controversy and congratulated the relief work. The MP, however, condemned the policy of gentrification of the mayor and his negligence while the dilapidation of certain buildings had been reported. "It is the homes of the poor who fall, and this is not a coincidence," he denounced, lamenting "a strange smell of casualness and indifference to poverty." Senator PS Samia Ghali, she regretted that "behind the idyllic postcard, we once again measure the failures of housing policy and downtown".
"There was a big boom"
"I live next door, I was watching TV when I heard a loud noise, but no explosion, then a cloud of smoke," told AFP Antonio Dias, 30 years. Another neighbor, Sofia Benameur, also told a noise "that made" badaboum, badaboum "like stones, and suddenly there was a lot of smoke at home, I had to run out." "The building collapsed in one block in a few seconds. I did not hear the sound of an explosion, "told AFP Djaffar Nour, who was shopping in the street a few tens of meters from collapsed buildings. "There was a big boom and it collapsed suddenly," said Ludovic, a 26-year-old student who lives in a roommate in front of the collapsed building. "There were a lot of people on the street at that time in the neighborhood."
"Afterwards, we were told to leave our house because of the risk of collapse," said the young man, who had to wake up two of his roommates, including a girl who had only time to put on a jacket over his pajamas. "Last week, firefighters came and blocked the street for two hours because of the risk of collapse but then nothing happened at all," added Ludovic.