January 19, 2019
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Gas explosion at bakery in central Paris, French police say several injured

Paris, Jan 12 (efe-epa).- A powerful explosion at a bakery has rocked central Paris early Saturday, leaving several people injured, officials said.

The blast, which took place at 9.10 am local time, was preceded by a fire that was apparently caused by a gas leak, according to preliminary police reports.

"More than 200 Paris firefighters are engaged in emergency operations. The injury toll looks heavy," said Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, who was at the scene. "My first thoughts go to the wounded and their loved ones," he added.

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, as EFE was able to verify at the scene of the blast.

"Ongoing, Paris firefighters are tackling a fire at a business establishment in Rue Trévise in the 9th arrondissement of north-central Paris that was followed by a strong explosion," Paris police said in a statement. "Avoid the area and allow the passage to emergency vehicles," it added.

The explosion caused considerable damage to buildings and vehicles in the neighborhood and a column of smoke was visible from many points of the French capital.

Smoke was still seen billowing more than an hour after the blast.

Jean, a young man who lives in front of the bakery and who declined to give his surname, told EFE that several windows in his house have been smashed after a rumble was flung into the streets in a scene "that looked like an earthquake."

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