Agence France-Presse

France building collapses, killing 3, injuring 14

Firemen are at work near the collapsed section of an apartment building on April 28, 2013 in Reims, eastern France, after a suspected gas explosion killed at least two people and injured nine others leaving people trapped under debris, authorities said.


Francois Nascimbeni

At least three people are dead after an explosion partly destroyed a block of apartments and the building collapsed in the northern French city of Reims.

Fourteen others were also reportedly injured, as rescue workers searched for others in the rubble.

The public housing building in France's Champagne region has been evacuated while hundreds of police, rescue crews and sniffer dogs combed the area.

Officials said the death toll is unlikely to rise.

Many of those hurt had serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

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However, the building, which collapsed at 11:15 a.m. local time, could possibly still have victims in its debris.

Reims Mayor Adeline Hazan said the explosion at the four-story building was probably caused by a gas leak.

She also said the bodies of the three victims were still under the rubble, as crews worked to retrieve them.

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Between ten and 40 apartments were affected by the explosion and collapse at the building from the 1960s or 70s.

"The explosion in Reims is a terrible drama," said French President Francois Hollande in a statement and offer of condolences to those affected by the blast.

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