Emergency workers were still trying to free at least one other person from the remains some 40 minutes after the blast, who they were able to retrieve with minor injuries at around 1:00 PM.
Police cordoned off the street and began evacuating residents from the neighbouring buildings and surrounding area, with some saying they were shocked when they saw the building come “crumbling down like a house of cards.”
“My wife and I were quietly sitting in our home when all of a sudden we heard an enormous, intense explosion,” Bernard, a resident of a neighbouring apartment, told RTL.
“We were engulfed in a cloud of dust and, when we went upstairs, we saw that the house had come crumbling down like a house of cards. There only remained a small mount of rubble.”
Liège police said that the site of the explosion was being searched with the aid of a sniffing dog in order to make sure that no more people were trapped under the debris, Le Soir reports.
Authorities are still working to determine the causes of the blast, which police said could have originated in an annexe in the building’s backyard.
In 2010, 14 people in Liège were killed and dozens more injured by another blast in an apartment building near the central Place Saint-Lambert, in a tragedy in which the building’s owner was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, a decision which he said he would appeal.