According to Belgian media, ten people were said to be present in the building. One person was said to have been rescued and taken to hospital.
An elderly woman, who lives on the first floor, is still under the rubble, but the emergency services are in contact with her. “We are now trying to find out who is still in that apartment building,” police told VRT. The mayor of Turnhout confirmed that eight people were still being sought. It is not known whether the eight people were in their homes at the time of the explosion.
Police called on people to avoid the area around Boeren Krijglaan and Steenweg op Gierle. Pictures show that half of the floors have collapsed due to the explosion.
Emergency services mobilized en masse for the explosion. The police brought sniffer dogs to search for people under the rubble, and there is an excavator to pick up the rubble. A special medical plan was also announced to help the victims as soon as possible. The central part of the four-house building has collapsed, Het Nieuwsblad reports. The rest of the building was badly damaged.
The whole neighborhood was dumbfounded by the infernal noise. “I was just on the phone with my girlfriend when I heard a very loud bang,” says Frans Kayers, 69, a man who lives in an apartment building across the street. The glass was inside my apartment. I was still wearing pajamas and stayed inside for a while out of fear.”
Another neighbor of Boeren Krijglaan is also deeply impressed. “I was downstairs when suddenly a huge noise was heard. Everything in the house shook. My son immediately called the fire brigade.”
The debris had been thrown hundreds of meters from the explosion. Several cars in the area were damaged by flying debris.
“There are a lot of rubble in the street,” said a local resident. I think there are a number of wounded. I haven’t seen anyone leave the building yet.”
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