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05 March 2024

Paris street is devastated by gas blast; 3 dead

Photo: AP


A powerful explosion apparently caused by a gas leak has blown apart a Paris bakery and devastated the street it was on, killing three people and injuring dozens.

Witnesses described the explosion Saturday morning as deafening.

It blew out windows and over turned nearby cars.

Firefighters pulled injured victims out from windows and evacuated residents and tourists as a fire raged and smoke billowed over Rue de Trevise in north-central Paris.

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.

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

The Spanish foreign minister says a Spanish woman is among those killed in a Paris bakery explosion and fire believed caused by a gas leak, and another Spanish person was injured.

Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell tweeted that “I deeply regret the death of three people after the explosion in central Paris, including a Spanish woman.” He shared condolences to her relatives and “wishes for a quick recovery to the other injured Spaniard.”

El Pais reported the woman was a tourist staying in a hotel near the bakery where the explosion took place Saturday.

The French Interior Ministry and Paris prosecutor’s office reported only two dead from the explosion, both firefighters. They could not immediately confirm the death of the Spanish woman.

Dozens of people were injured in the explosion.

The Paris prosecutor’s office also says that two firefighters have been killed in the bakery blast and has corrected the overall figure given earlier by France’s interior minister.

The prosecutor’s office said the only two dead are the firefighters; 10 other people are in critical condition and 37 are less seriously injured.

Earlier, French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner told reporters at the scene that a total of four people, including two firefighters, were killed. Castaner later corrected himself in a tweet.

French investigators say the powerful blast was likely caused by a gas leak.

French television showed emergency vehicles surrounding the area.

The explosion came amid heavy security in Paris and around France for yellow vest protests expected later Saturday.