An explosion caused by a gas leak in a Parisian bakery killed at least three people and injured at least 47 people in total, causing a flawless emergency response and the evacuation of residents.
The explosion and the fire blew up the windows and even knocked down cars, the French authorities announced. The incident occurred over the street of Treviso in the 9th luxury district of north-central Paris, not far from the shopping district which includes the famous Galeries Lafayette headquarters.
At least three people were killed in the explosion, including two firefighters, and at least 47 people were also injured, including 10 in critical condition.
The Spanish Foreign Minister said that a Spanish woman was among those killed. Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell tweeted: "I deeply regret the death of three people after the explosion in central Paris, including a Spanish one." He offered his condolences to his loved ones and "his wishes for a speedy recovery to the other wounded Spanish".
It was initially reported that four people died in the incident.
"Unfortunately, the human toll is particularly serious," French Minister of the Interior Christophe Castaner told the media. He added that "the situation is under control" and described his "shock" after noticing the damage.
About 200 firefighters and police were involved in the emergency operation. A helicopter landed in the area to evacuate the wounded.
The cause of the blast seems to be an accidental gas leak, said Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz, but an investigation was opened to determine the exact cause of the blast.
He noted that firefighters were already on the scene to check for gas leak in the bakery before the explosion.
The explosion caused the formation of debris and broken glass on the sidewalk. Some residents also described the blast, saying it scared them, fearing it would be a terrorist attack.
An employee of a hotel located in front of the bakery said he saw firefighters enter the bakery about an hour before the blast.
"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," said the witness. "And I just had time to lie down and cover myself and protect my head."
He added that the blast had let him whistle in the ear. The hotel where he works was "destroyed" by the blast, he said.
The explosion took place in the middle of the police presence and emergency services in Paris because of the manifestations of the yellow vest. Protesters parade every Saturday in the capital to express their dissatisfaction with the government.
Associated Press contributed to this report.