In addition to the five people injured, another 31 people were rescued after the explosion. A large part of the five-storey residential building also collapsed.
It is now necessary to work through the rubble one step at a time, said a police spokesperson, adding that the search for the cause is difficult as it is unclear how the explosion occurred.
Shortly before midnight on Saturday, residents of Lenneper Straße in the Wuppertal district of Langerfeld were awoken from their sleep by a huge bang. The explosion was so strong, it blew away large parts of the building, including three floors and the attic.
Shortly afterward, fire broke out and metres-high flames came out of the rubble. Residents ran out onto the street in a panicked state. Others who couldn’t find an escape route cried for help from their windows; rescuers used ladders to bring them to safety.
For a long time it was unclear whether there were any other people under the rubble. The authorities eventually gave the all-clear that no one else was missing.
Demolition on the building, which was in danger of fully collapsing, began on Sunday.