PARIS – A big explosion tore in a bakery in central Paris on Saturday morning and left smoke and flames and scattered debris in the wake and injured several people, the authorities said.
The authorities said the explosion believed to have
Paris Police Department said on Twitter that a fire originally started in a store on Rue de Trévise which was then hit by a "strong explosion". About 200 firefighters fought the fire, and the images on social media showed firefighters helping people down a ladder after the blast.
The number of injured was not yet clear, but Christophe Castaner, the interior minister, told journalists on the spot later on Saturday that the situation was "under control" but that the human toll could be "serious".
The explosion came as Paris and other cities around France stood on Saturday urday for a ninth week of protests by the "Yellow Vests" movement, which had been subjected to episodes of violence and vandalism in high-end stores. But there was no immediate indication that the explosion on Saturday had anything to do with the protests.
The Yellow West protests against President Emmanuel Macron's social and economic policies, which they perceive to be in touch with their daily needs.
Pictures on social media after the powerful explosion showed a sword store head at the corner of Rue Trévise and Rue Sainte Sécile in the 9th arrondissement of Paris, with windows blown out, debris flowing around the street and fires which is still burning.
Other images showed damaged buildings and broken windows extending for several blocks.
The explosion occurred on a residential street in an area of Paris which is also known for tourists, with many hotels and attractions nearby, including the Grévin Wax Museum and Folies Bergère Music Hall.
A person wrote on Twitter: "Woke up to the apartment house shook as if I had never left California … not an earthquake, but an explosion on Rue de Trévise not even a mile from me."
Another person wrote about hearing screams .
Sylvain Maillard, a legislator representing the area, told the BFM TV news channel that the explosion had been "unintentional" and that it was "probably hurt".
Holders told French television that firefighters had responded to reports of a gas leak in the neighborhood and ordered residents to turn off their gas supply and stay in when the explosion occurred.
Many apartment blocks in Paris use gas for heating and other purposes but deadly explosions because of leaks are rare. In 2016, an explosion caused by a gas leak in the 6th arrondissement of Paris demolished the roof of a residential building and wounded 17 people.