Death toll up to five in Marseille building collapse

Firefighters work at the scene where a building collapsed In Marseille on Monday

Firefighters work at the scene where a building collapsed In Marseille on Monday Credit Claude Paris Claude Paris Source AP

A fourth body has been found in the ruins of two buildings that collapsed in the southern city of Marseille.

There are between five to eight people missing, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said late Monday, with authorities trying to trace five residents and three other people who had been invited to the buildings. Fire crews deliberately brought down an adjacent third building that was also in danger of collapse.

The building had been the subject of an appraisal and work in October.

"Everybody knew about the problems", said Patrick Lacoste, a spokesman for a local housing action group.

Marseille prosecutor Xavier Tabareux said the body of a woman was recovered after three other dead people - two men and a woman - were found in the rubble earlier yesterday.

"We still have hope, even if that hope is fading".

People had been living in nine of the 10 apartments at number 65, while a shop occupied the ground floor.

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But a 2015 government report said about 100,000 Marseille residents were living in housing that was unsafe to their health or security. Previously, the government said that under the debris may be from five to eight people. The disaster, he added, was "100 percent the fault of city hall".

The search has proven hard because one of the collapsed buildings, 63 Rue d'Aubagne, was closed and was possibly used by squatters.

"It could have been me", the 25-year-old philosophy student said, visibly shaken.

The neighbourhood is home to many buildings in a similarly poor condition, some of them run by slum landlords.

Marseille authorities began a vast upgrade plan for the city centre in 2011.

According 2015, about 100 thousand inhabitants of Marseille, live in housing that threatens their health or safety.

Djaffar Nour, who was shopping down the street, said the collapse had happened in "a matter of seconds".

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