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UPDATE: One killed and 10 injured in France garage blast

An 88-year-old woman was killed and her 89-year-old partner was seriously hurt during an explosion in a garage in the French city of Bordeaux on Saturday, firefighters said.

UPDATE: One killed and 10 injured in France garage blast
Firefighters work at the site where a large explosion in a garage destroyed the building as well as two neighbouring ones on February 6, 2021 in Bordeaux' Chartrons district. Photo: AFP

Initial investigations suggest gas was the cause of the blast, which destroyed the small building and seriously damaged two neighbouring buildings.

The woman had been listed as missing after the blast at around 8am (0700 GMT) in the Chartrons district of the western French city.

Firefighters said they found her body under rubble at around 4pm.

Her partner, the 89-year-old man, had been fighting for his life in hospital before his condition later improved, according to officials.

A second person initially named as missing has since come forward.

So far nine other people have been identified with minor injuries following the blast.

A member of the dog-technical team arrives at the site of the explosion. Photo: AFP

About 70 firefighters were on the scene.

Emergency services used sniffer dogs and equipment to clear the debris in their search.

The explosion destroyed a car park and garage on the ground floor and lodgings on the floor above.

The windows of several nearby shops were blown out by the force of the blast.

Lucie Perrouault, 21, said she was scared when the windows “exploded”.

“The glass from our window was blown onto us, we stepped on glass and my boyfriend was injured,” she said.

The large explosion destroyed the building as well as two neighbouring ones in Bordeaux' Chartrons district. Photo: AFP

 

Mael, 38, said she “was sleeping and I heard a great 'boom' — my bay window exploded”.

“I went outside and saw that an apartment had been blown up”.

While gas supplies to the district have been cut, “we don't know yet whether it was the gas network or canisters” that caused the explosion, said Eric Destarac, a spokesman for gas distribution company Regaz.

Firefighters recovered some gas bottles from the garage, he added.

 

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BORDEAUX

‘Heartbreaking’: Bordeaux in shock as longtime mayor Alain Juppé quits

The longtime mayor of Bordeaux Alain Juppé, who is credited with transforming the south western city, left locals in shock this week after announcing he was moving on.

'Heartbreaking': Bordeaux in shock as longtime mayor Alain Juppé quits
Photo: AFP

Juppé, mayor of Bordeaux and former prime minister, announced to great surprise this week he will leave his post one year before the end of his third consecutive term.

In an unexpected move, the 73-year-old political heavyweight has been revealed as the replacement for Socialist Lionel Jospin on the French Constitutional Council – the country's highest constitutional authority.

Officially announcing his resignation in Bordeaux City Hall, Juppé described leaving his role as “heartbreaking”. 
 
“I made the decision not to run for re-election in March 2020, (…) I had planned to announce this after the European elections.”
 
Juppé also admitted he had “so many projects in mind for Bordeaux” and compared his relationship with the city to that of “an old couple”.

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Juppé served as prime minister under President Jacques Chirac and the popular politician is considered a hero by many in Bordeaux, a city he has progressively transformed.

Juppé aimed to make Bordeaux the capital of the southwest and an international hub to rival other cities in France.

He installed a tramway, making it very accessible for both locals and tourists. During his watch a new two hour high-speed train link to Paris was built, making it a viable commute. Although some locals were left angry after seeing themselves priced out of the booming property market.

Under his leadership, it was voted the best place to work in France in 2014 and it was also deemed the best city in France for bio-diversity.

Bordeaux is regularly ranked as one of the most desirable cities to live in France for quality of life and Parisians dream of moving there according to regular polls.

Juppé himself was even judged the best mayor in France in a 2015 poll in French magazine L’Express.

He is regarded as a unifying politician, bridging the left and the right. During his three terms as mayor, Juppé has taken pride in connecting directly with his community.

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