A powerful explosion shook a building located in Paris’ Left Bank on Wednesday, resulting in at least 16 people being injured and causing a fire that released smoke over iconic city landmarks. The incident prompted the evacuation of nearby structures as emergency services rushed to the scene. The cause of the explosion remains unknown at this time.
The blast caused the collapse of the facade of a building in the 5th arrondissement, a district in Paris, leading authorities to assess whether anyone remained trapped inside, according to a Paris police official. The explosion occurred near the historic Val de Grace military hospital.
According to reports from ABC7 Eyewitness News, Paris police chief Laurent Nunez informed journalists that there were 16 individuals injured, with seven in “emergency condition.” The severity of the injuries was not specified by the authorities.
While the fire was contained, it had not been fully extinguished, as stated by Nunez. Florence Berthout, the mayor of the affected district, described the explosion as “extremely violent,” noting that fragments of glass continued to fall from buildings.
The police official mentioned multiple injuries, some of which were critical, but did not provide an exact number as emergency personnel continued their search efforts. Firefighters battled the blaze, causing the gray plume of smoke to gradually dissipate, although the smell of smoke remained in the air. The neighborhood was cordoned off, with numerous emergency workers, police officers, and soldiers present at the scene.
Paris police spokeswoman Loubna Atta stated that it was too early to determine the cause of the fire and could not confirm reports suggesting a gas explosion.
Achille, a student who witnessed the incident, recounted his experience from a building approximately 100 meters away from the explosion. He described the sensation of being propelled away from the window by a small blast and experiencing immense fear. Achille added, “We came down (from the building) and saw the flames. The police provided great support, and we evacuated quickly.”
As investigations continue, authorities are diligently working to determine the exact cause of the explosion and to ensure the safety of the affected area.
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