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Destroyed house in Essen: Fire brigade in action

Photo: Markus Gayk / dpa

One day after the explosion in an apartment building in Essen, a body was found on the first floor of the building. It is still unclear whether this is the resident who is still missing. The body has not yet been identified, a police spokeswoman said on Monday night.

In the explosion and fire on Saturday evening in the Steele district, a young woman was seriously injured and two other people were slightly injured. According to the information, the resident jumped out of the window of the burning house. Rescue workers found her lying on the street – shards of glass and parts of buildings scattered around her. The seriously injured woman was taken to a center for burn victims in Bochum. According to police, five people were reported in the house.

"You can't survive the violence that has worked here"

The emergency services were presented with a devastating picture. "The road resembles a field of rubble, everything is full of rubble and broken glass," a fire department spokesman described the situation on Sunday morning. Windows on the house and windows of parked cars were shattered.

The emergency services were unable to enter the destroyed building for a long time to search for possible further victims. On Sunday morning, the firefighters searched the house with rescue dogs and initially found no one, before they came across the body.

"You can't survive the violence that has worked here," said the fire department spokesman. The blast wave created by the explosion also destroyed a wall of the directly adjacent residential building. Two residents from the neighboring house were initially treated on site by the emergency services and were taken to hospital with minor injuries.

Three other people were also attended to by emergency services, but were uninjured. On Sunday morning, structural engineers gave the all-clear for the evacuated neighboring building: It was not in danger of collapsing.

The cause of the explosion is still unclear, said the fire department spokesman. Also in the night to Monday, the police could not give any new information. According to initial findings, the incident occurred in an apartment on the ground floor of the now uninhabitable building. From there, the fire immediately spread to the rest of the house.