3 DEAD, MANY INJURED IN HUGE PARIS BLAST
THREE people died and nearly 50 were injured in a massive gas explosion that gutted the ground floor of a building in a central Paris shopping district on Saturday, authorities said. The accident occurred with Paris under security lockdown for a ninth consecutive Saturday of “yellow vest” protests, with large parts of the French capital blocked off by riot police.
Interior Minister Christophe Castaner told reporters that two firefighters had died of their injuries from the gas blast.
“As firemen were looking for a gas leak in the building, a dramatic explosion took place,” Castaner said, adding that one of the firemen had been buried under debris for several hours. He said that Paris firefighters were already at the scene for a suspected gas leak on Saturday morning when
French PM also visited the scene of blast
the explosion happened. Investigations are ongoing to determine the exact cause of the blast.
A Paris police spokeswoman said firefighters are currently at the scene of the blast at the bakery on Rue Trevise in the 9th arrondissement of north-central Paris. Several of those injured in the blast were sitting in the street eating their breakfast when the bakery exploded. Witnesses told local media that if felt as if there had been an earthquake, with buildings rocked several hundred metres by the blast.
French PM Edouard Philippe arrived at the scene around an hour after the blast to inspect the damage. Silver-helmeted firefighters and red firetrucks filled the street and inspected adjoining courtyards. Debris from a burned car and broken glass littered the pavement. A vehicle from gas company GRDF was stationed nearby. The building is around the corner from the FoliesBergere theater and not far from the shopping district that includes the famed headquarters of Galeries Lafayette.
The explosion came amid heavy security in Paris and around
Around 200 firefighters were sent to the scene to rescue survivors in the city’s 9th district