Seven people including two children were killed overnight from Sunday to Monday in a fire caused by an unexplained explosion in South of France.
Residents reported hearing an explosion around 01:30 (00:30 GMT) which set burning buildings on on both sides of a street in the small seaside city of Saint-Laurent-de-la-Salanque, about 15 kilometers from the city of Perpignan.
“I heard a very loud explosion, then I saw huge flames,” said neighbor Nadine Bret, 59.
“The buildings were destroyed by flames. It was total panic.”
She said building work was going to on in a fast-food restaurant on floor floor of one of buildings on Sunday.
Firefighters continued their search for potential victims of the fire Monday in of them small blocks of apartments left unstable by fire damage.
A man in his thirties was taken to hospital in critical condition after jumping from a second-story window to escape the fire.
Prosecutors said they have opened an investigation into cause of the blast.