‘Hero’ fire­fight­ers, Span­ish tourist killed in Paris gas blast

The Star Malaysia - - World -

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.

— AFP

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.

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