At least 37 people have been injured, four of them very seriously, and several buildings have caught fire as a result of a strong explosion that has occurred in the 5th arrondissement of Parisapparently caused by the gas, shortly before 5:00 p.m.
A Paris police officer added that the facade of a building had fallen to the street because of the explosion, and that many firefighters and members of the police went to the Alfonse Laveran square, where the event occurred, to cordon off the area. The deputy to the government of the 5th district of the capital, Édouard Civel, indicated a few minutes after the incident that it was due to a gas explosion.
Local witnesses say the explosion sounded “like thunder” and “smelled of gas in the street”, and that there were “things flying everywhere”.
—Mat (@Namat_12) June 21, 2023
The building where the explosion would have occurred houses a school of fashion and architecture called the Paris American Academy. The building, two stories high, has been practically demolished as a result of the explosion. Among the rubble, the emergency services are looking for two people who apparently were in the building.
The Police Prefecture indicated on its Twitter account that the emergency intervention was underway in Rue Saint Jacques, near the Val de Grâce hospital, and asked the population to avoid the area and to let the emergency services work.
URGENT EXPLOSION PARIS
Des pompiers en nombre, rue Gay-Lussac and rue Saint-Jacques, in the 5th arrondissement of Paris, after the enormous explosion that seems to have destroyed a building on Place Alphonse Laveran. Pas de bilan humain pour le moment. pic.twitter.com/HFWReBVrJb
—Olivier Biffaud (@bif_o) June 21, 2023
Causes under investigation
The prefect of police Laurent Nunezand the mayoress of Paris, Anne Hidalgovisited the place of the explosion and offered a still provisional balance in statements to the press, since the search for possible victims continued and that its services modified shortly after.
The Paris prosecutor, Laure Beccuau, had an impact, like Núñez, on the idea that “for now, nothing allows to determine the origin of the accident” and said that technical investigations will be carried out and the images from the surveillance cameras in the area will be analyzed.
The prosecutor announced the opening of an investigation into the causes that caused the injuries and endangered the lives of third parties, to try to determine if there could be some individual imprudence or if some safety rules were broken.