7 dead, including baby, in midnight blast in France — Analysis

The explosion occurred in Saint-Laurent-de-la-Salanque, a village in the south of the country

Seven people, including two children – one of whom was a newborn baby – have died after a suspected gas explosion rocked a small southern French town in the early hours of Monday morning.

A loud explosion was heard around 1:30am local time in one of the main areas of Saint-Laurent-de-la-Salanque, located about fifteen kilometers from Perpignan.

Evidently, the fire spread across the street. 

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It is believed that the explosion occurred on the ground level of a three-story structure. On the ground floor, a grocery shop and fast-food stands were located. Fire raged through the structure. 

Uncertain as to the cause of this fire.

Local media reported that emergency workers found five bodies dead in rubble. Two people had been declared missing. Two children were believed to have been among those who died, including a baby. 

“An explosion followed by a fire killed at least 7 people in the Pyrénées-Orientales. I am interrupting my trip to Montpellier to go there,” Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin saidIn a Tweet “I give my full support to the mobilized state services and to the inhabitants. My thoughts go out to the victims and their loved ones,”He concluded.

An investigation has been opened to determine the causes of the explosion, public prosecutor Jean-David Cavaillé told the press at a briefing.

“The presence of gas cylinders seems to be confirmed, but we will give investigators time to check the contents of the shops,”He concluded.

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