Gas explosion rocks central Paris district, kills 3

A massive explosion probably caused by a gas leak gutted a the ground floor of a building in central Paris’s shopping district on Saturday, kills 3, including two firefighters, injures 47 with 10 in critical condition, French police said. Authorities were on high alert in the French capital for a ninth consecutive Saturday of “yellow vest” protests, with large parts of the city center blocked off by riot police.

A police source said the explosion tore apart a bakery on the rue Trevise in the Grands Boulevards district. The force of the blast shattered nearby storefronts and rocked buildings hundreds of meters away, witnesses said. It was initially reported that four people died in the incident.

“The situation is now under control,” Interior Minister Christophe Castaner told reporters on the scene. He said more than 200 firemen were involved in the rescue operation.

The explosion and fire blasted out the windows and even overturned cars, French authorities said. Around 200 firefighters and police were involved in the emergency operation. Two helicopters landed on the nearby Place de l’Opera to evacuate victims.

 

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