Two small adjoining buildings collapsed on Saturday morning in a shopping street in the center of Lille, in the north of France, without causing any victims a priori, the accommodation having been evacuated overnight as a precaution thanks to the report of a resident. who was returning home.
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A three-storey building under construction collapsed, dragging down a neighboring building around 9:15 a.m. on rue Pierre-Mauroy, a very busy street in the city, but fortunately before the shops opened.
According to the socialist mayor of Lille, Martine Aubry, a dozen people had already been evacuated during the night and there is “a priori” no victim.
“A young man came home at 3 a.m. and he realized that the wall (of the building) was warped” and the door was open, she said. He then warned the municipal police and the firefighters, who decided to evacuate a building, the other seeming empty, considering “that there was a real risk”.
Most of the inhabitants have been rehoused with family or friends, said Ms. Aubry, present on site.
“I’m still shaking, because if that night this gentleman hadn’t come home at 3 a.m., and hadn’t contacted us, and we didn’t have these reactions, there would have been deaths this morning, she said. “We owe him a big candle,” she added, also welcoming the reflex of firefighters and municipal police.
The neighboring buildings were also evacuated on Saturday morning “as a precaution”.
Firefighters were deployed in numbers at the end of the morning to check the risks and start clearing the rubble, a dusty mixture of bricks and metal beams, remains of scaffolding on the facade of the building.
Others also forced store doors at the foot of neighboring buildings to check for any cracks that could endanger the buildings or gas leaks following the collapse.
“We heard a noise for a few seconds, very gently at first. We thought it was the scaffolding that was falling,” Ludovic Ficher, 30, who works in an adjoining building, told AFP.
“When we realized that it was the whole building that was collapsing, we all ran away,” he added. “I got the fright of my life.”