'Gas explosion' injures at least 20 in Paris

Published: January 12, 2019 16:51:51 | Updated: January 13, 2019 20:12:28

Firefighters have been tackling a blaze in a business in the centre of Paris after a powerful explosion which injured at least 20 people on Saturday, police say.

Cars were wrecked and other buildings were damaged by the blast on Rue de Trévise in the 9th Arrondissement, reports BBC.

Police suspect a gas leak caused the explosion which occurred in a bakery around 09:00 (08:00 GMT).

They have asked people to stay away from the area, to allow emergency services access.

In the immediate aftermath, smashed cars and debris from other shop fronts littered the street in front of the burning bakery as people stood around, looking stunned by the force of the explosion.

Visiting the scene, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said the situation was now under control.

Paris and other French cities have been bracing themselves for a new round of anti-government protests by "yellow vest" demonstrators, with 80,000 police officers due to be on duty on Saturday - although the explosion is not thought to be connected with the demonstrations.

The Hubert bakery at No 6 Rue de Trévise was not due to be open at the time of the blast, Le Parisien newspaper reports.

A gas leak had been reported in the building and firefighters had been on their way to deal with it when the explosion occurred.

Several firefighters are believed to be among the 20 people hurt, nine of whom were seriously injured, police sources say.

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