PARIS: A massive explosion probably caused by a gas leak gutted a the ground floor of a building in central Pariss shopping district yesterday, seriously injuring at least nine people, French police said.
Authorities were on high alert in the French capital for a ninth consecutive yesterday of yellow vest protests, with large parts of the city centre ed 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 metres away, witnesses said.
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.
An eyewitness who was staying at a hotel nearby said he saw saw a huge fire erupt in the building blown out by the blast.
There was broken glass everywhere, storefronts were blown out and windows were shattered up to the third and fourth floors, said 38-year-old David Bangura.
Two helicopters landed on the nearby Place de lOpera to evacuate victims. Reuters
Firefighters evacuate an injured person on a stretcher after the explosion of a bakery on the corner of the streets Saint-Cecile and Rue de Trevise in central Paris. AFP photo
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