A powerful explosion and fire apparently caused by a gas leak in a Paris bakery killed two firefighters and injured 47 people Saturday, authorities said. The firefighters fired the victims from the windows and evacuated the inhabitants as smoke invaded Rue de Treviso, in the 9th district of Paris-Nord.
According to the authorities, 10 people were in critical condition and 37 others were less seriously injured in the blast, which knocked down cars and blew the windows.
Immediately after, smashed cars and debris littered the street in front of the bakery, housed in an apartment building that looked like a blackened carcass. The people standing around seemed stunned by the force of the explosion, BBC News reported.
Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz said firefighters were on the scene before the blast to investigate an alleged gas leak. It was when the explosion occurred.
Firefighters are working on the site of an explosion at a bakery in the 9th arrondissement of Paris, France, on January 12, 2019.
REUTERS / Benoit Tessier
He told the Associated Press that "the judicial police have started to investigate, the forensic police too".
"The origin of the explosion seems accidental," he said. "We are at the beginning of the investigation, everything will be done to establish the exact origin of the explosion as soon as possible."
Witnesses described the resounding sound of the explosion and the people trapped in the neighboring buildings.
Pedro Goncalves, an employee of the Mercure hotel across the street from the bakery, said that he had seen firefighters enter the bakery in the morning, but that his colleagues and he had "thought that Was maybe a joke, a false alarm "and they went back to work. About an hour later, he said that an explosion had shaken the surrounding streets.
"In the middle of nowhere, I heard a big explosion and then a lot of pressure came on me (and) a lot of black smoke and glass," he said. "And I just had time to lie down and cover myself and protect my head."
Goncalves said that he "had felt a lot of things falling on me" and that he had been hit by a broken glass. He had some cuts in his head and blood stains on his sweater and shirt.
"Thank God, I'm fine," he said, explaining that the breath was so powerful that he heard a whistling sound as a result. Goncalves said that he had run until the exit, and then went to see hotel guests, adding that some of them had been injured in the head and had bleeding. . He said that the hotel had been "destroyed" during the blast.
The mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo, who was on the scene, said that many residents and tourists had been evacuated from nearby hotels and buildings.
The explosion took place as some 80,000 policemen were expected to be on duty Saturday, as protesters "in the yellow vest" are expected to take to the streets for the ninth consecutive weekend to protest the government, the BBC reported. . The explosion of Paris would not be linked to the demonstrations.