"The explosion was very strong, like a sonic boom from a fighter plane. We had been playing football on a field about 30 meters (100 feet) away, and ran to the scene," resident Abdel Kader told the Associated Press. "The building had fallen like a house of cards ... 30 seconds after that we saw a man calling for help, he was on a slab. His legs were caught." That man later died, according to Abdel Kader.

While officials haven't yet determined what triggered the blast, Reims' mayor Adeline Hazan told the BFM TV he believes it was caused by a gas leak.

[Photos via AP]