3 dead, dozens in­jured in Paris gas leak ex­plo­sion

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - LOCAL / WORLD - BY AN­GELA CHARL­TON AND SYLVIE COR­BET

PARIS — A pow­er­ful ex­plo­sion ap­par­ently caused by a gas leak blew apart a Paris bak­ery on Satur­day and dev­as­tated the street it was on, killing three peo­ple and in­jur­ing dozens as it blasted out win­dows and over­turned nearby cars, French au­thor­i­ties said.

Wit­nesses de­scribed the sound of the ex­plo­sion as deaf­en­ing. Fire­fight­ers pulled in­jured vic­tims out from bro­ken win­dows and evac­u­ated res­i­dents and tourists as a fire raged and smoke bil­lowed over Rue de Tre­vise in the 9th ar­rondisse­ment of north-cen­tral Paris.

Charred de­bris and bro­ken glass cov­ered the pave­ment around the apart­ment build­ing hous­ing the bak­ery, which re­sem­bled a black­ened car­cass, and peo­ple were trapped in­side nearby build­ings.

In­te­rior Min­is­ter Christophe Cas­taner paid homage to the courage of res­cuers, who saved the life of one fire­fighter who was buried un­der the rub­ble for 2½ hours.

The French In­te­rior Min­istry said two fire­fight­ers and a fe­male Span­ish tourist were killed by the blast and about 10 of the 47 wounded were in crit­i­cal con­di­tion. French au­thor­i­ties cor­rected the fig­ure of four dead given ear­lier by France’s in­te­rior min­is­ter.

Paris prose­cu­tor Remy Heitz said the cause of the blast ap­peared to be an ac­ci­den­tal gas leak. He said Paris fire­fight­ers were al­ready at the scene to in­ves­ti­gate a sus­pected gas leak at the bak­ery when the ex­plo­sion hap­pened about 9 a.m.

MATTHIEU CROISSANDEAU / VIA AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

The scene of a gas ex­plo­sion in Paris.

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