At Least Seven, Including Children, Killed in Explosion and Fire in Southern France

At least seven people, including two children, died after an explosion caused a fire in a building in the village of Saint-Laurent-de-la-Salanque in southern France on Feb. 14.

One of the victims was reportedly a baby.

Around 20 people were injured, including one man who jumped from the second floor to escape the fire and is in critical condition in the hospital, according to local media reports.

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin visited the scene of the accident and warned that the death toll could rise as emergency services continued to search for survivors.

According to authorities, the explosion occurred at 1:30 a.m. local time on the ground floor, which housed a grocery store and a fast-food take-away, and the flames quickly spread through the building and two neighboring properties.

Several floors of the building also collapse, according to Perpignan public prosecutor Jean-David .

Olivier Dussopt, the French Minister of Public Action and Accounts, posted a photo on Twitter appearing to show the wreckage of the burned building.

The cause of the explosion is not yet known.

“Prosecutors currently don’t have any crucial information to determine whether this was accidental or criminal,” Darmamin said.

Cavaillé said that gas cylinders may have caused the explosion.

Cavaillé also said an investigation into the incident has been launched.

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