According to Belgian media, ten people are said to be present in the building. It is being told that one person has been rescued and taken to the hospital.
An elderly woman living on the first floor is still in the rubble, but emergency services are in contact with her. “We are now trying to find out who is present in that apartment block,” police told VRT. The mayor of Turnhout confirmed eight people are still being sought. It is not known whether eight people were at home at the time of the blast.
Police are calling on people to avoid the area around Boeren Krijglaan and Steenweg op Gierle. Images show that half the storeys have collapsed due to the blast.
Emergency services have prepared collectively for the explosion. Police have brought sniffer dogs to search for people under the rubble and digging is being done to pick up the debris. A special medical scheme has also been announced to help any victim at the earliest. The central part of the building with four houses has collapsed, Het Nieuwsblad reports. The rest of the building has suffered heavy damage.
The whole neighborhood was horrified by the monstrous noise. “I was just on the phone with my girlfriend when I heard a really loud bang,” says Frans Kers (69), a man who lives in the apartment building across the street. “The glass was inside my apartment. I was still in my pajamas and stayed inside for a while in fear.”
Another neighbor of Boren Kriegsglan is also very impressed. “I was downstairs when suddenly there was a huge noise. Everything in the house shook. My son called the fire brigade immediately,” she says.
Debris from the explosion would have fallen hundreds of meters below. Several cars in the area were damaged by falling debris.
A local resident said, “There is a lot of debris on the road. “I suspect there are many injured people. I haven’t seen anyone leave the building yet.”
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