‘Hero’ firefighters, Spanish tourist killed in Paris gas blast
Paris: A powerful gas explosion tore through a building in central Paris killing a Spanish woman and two firefighters hailed as heroes by French President Emmanuel Macron.
Dozens more were injured in the blast which also badly damaged nearby apartments, officials said.
Around 200 firefighters were mobilised to battle the fire that broke out after the explosion and evacuate victims and residents in the area, said Interior Minister Christophe Castaner.
The explosion came with the city on edge during the latest “yellow vest” anti-government demonstrations, which have often degenerated into violence and vandalism in Paris and other cities.
Cars were overturned by the blast and glass and rubble was strewn across large swathes of the street after the explosion gutted the lower part of the building. Dozens of residents were treated by rescue workers on the road.
“I was sleeping and was woken up by the blast wave,” said Claire Sallavuard, a tenant at the Rue de Trevise where the explosion occurred.
“All the windows in the apartment exploded, doors were blown off their hinges, I had to walk on the door to leave the room, all the kids were panicking, they couldn’t get out of their room.”
“Firefighters advised us to leave but the elevator shaft had been blown out, there was no railing, nothing, and there was too much smoke,” she said.
As well as the three dead, 47 people were injured in the blast, 10 of them seriously, the Paris prosecutor’s office said.
The two firefighters who died were aged 27 and 28.
Closer to home: Participants asking for support during a demonstration to demand the transfer of ETA prisoners to jails near their homes in the northern Spanish city of Bilbao.