Paris: At least two people have been killed after a gas leak led to an explosion at a bakery in central Paris on Saturday. 12 people have been injured out of which five of them were reportedly in a critical state.
A spokesman for the Paris Fire Brigade said that an additional 24 people were injured in the blast but are not critical.
“The human toll is heavy — 12 people seriously injured, of which three are firefighters,” prosecutor Rémy Heitz told reporters before the police confirmed the four fatalities. “At this stage, we can tell the origin of the explosion is accidental, a gas leak, but we should remain prudent as an ongoing investigation will determine the causes of this,” he said.
The blast took place at 9.10 AM (local time) at the bakery on Rue de Trevise in the 9th arrondissement in Paris as firefighters were responding to reports of the leak. The explosion caused windows to shatter in the vicinity and glass to rattle over a larger area, while significant damage to the surrounding buildings and shops was visible on the streets.
French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, who visited the scene with Prime Minister Édouard Philippe and the city’s Mayor Anne Hidalgo, said the situation was now under control. He wrote earlier on Twitter that the toll of victims “will be heavy”.
“More than 200 Paris firefighters are engaged in emergency operations,” Castaner tweeted. “My first thoughts go to the wounded and their loved ones.”
The police advised the public to stay away from the area and to make space for emergency vehicles.
(With agency inputs)