At least six people have died and 45 are injured, some seriously, following an explosion in the basement of a 14-storey block of flats at Argenteuil, about 10 miles north west of the centre of Paris, on Tuesday (21 December).
GV & SV Firemen climbing into building by turntable ladder (4 shots)
GV TILT UP wreckage on around, curtains hanging out of broken windows(3 shots)
GV & SV Ambulance and firemen taking survivors to ambulances (2 shots)
GV Ambulances away
Initials OS/139 OS/144
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Background: At least six people have died and 45 are injured, some seriously, following an explosion in the basement of a 14-storey block of flats at Argenteuil, about 10 miles north west of the centre of Paris, on Tuesday (21 December).
Among the seriously injured were six firemen who had been called to a fire in the building just before the explosion occurred.
SYNOPSIS: At least six people are dead and some 45 injured after an explosion in a block of flats northwest of Paris on Tuesday. Rescue operations were hampered because the lifts and stairways had been destroyed up to the ninth floor. Firemen had arrived before the explosion to extinguish a blaze in the basement and six of them were seriously injured when the blast occurred.
There were conflicting reports about the cause of the accident. Witnesses said there had been frequent gas leaks in the flats, and there had been two visits earlier in the day by gas officials. The French National Gas Company stated at the scene it was then too early to blame the gas supplies.
Scores of ambulances were deployed in a shuttle service taking the injured, many of them badly burned, to neighbouring hospitals. The explosion damaged a number of nearby houses and eye-witnesses said the blast was so violent it blew residents and their furniture through windows.