The Latest: Paris street is devastated by gas blast; 3 dead
January 12, 2019 02:21 PM
PARIS (AP) — The Latest on blast at Paris bakery (all times local):
A powerful explosion apparently caused by a gas leak has blown apart a Paris bakery and devastated the street it was on, killing three people and injuring dozens.
Witnesses described the explosion Saturday morning as deafening. It blew out windows and over turned nearby cars. Firefighters pulled injured victims out from windows and evacuated residents and tourists as a fire raged and smoke billowed over Rue de Trevise in north-central Paris.
The French Interior Ministry said two firefighters and a female Spanish tourist were killed by the blast and about 10 of the 47 wounded were in critical condition.
Interior Minister Christophe Castaner paid homage to the courage of the rescuers who saved one firefighter after he was buried under the rubble for 2½ hours.
The Spanish foreign minister says a Spanish woman is among those killed in a Paris bakery explosion and fire believed caused by a gas leak, and another Spanish person was injured.
Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell tweeted that "I deeply regret the death of three people after the explosion in central Paris, including a Spanish woman." He shared condolences to her relatives and "wishes for a quick recovery to the other injured Spaniard."
El Pais reported the woman was a tourist staying in a hotel near the bakery where the explosion took place Saturday.
The French Interior Ministry and Paris prosecutor's office reported only two dead from the explosion, both firefighters. They could not immediately confirm the death of the Spanish woman.
Dozens of people were injured in the explosion.
The Paris prosecutor's office says that two firefighters have been killed in the bakery blast and has corrected the overall figure given earlier by France's interior minister.
The prosecutor's office said the only two dead are the firefighters; 10 other people are in critical condition and 37 are less seriously injured.
Earlier, French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner told reporters at the scene that a total of four people, including two firefighters, were killed. Castaner later corrected himself in a tweet.
French investigators say the powerful blast was likely caused by a gas leak.
France's interior minister says that four people have been killed, including two firefighters, and 47 have been injured in the blast at a bakery that was apparently caused by a gas leak in central Paris.
Christophe Castaner told reporters at the scene "unfortunately the human toll is particularly serious."
He said 10 people are in critical condition and 37 others less seriously injured.
He paid homage to the courage of rescuers who saved the life of one firefighter who was buried under the rubble for two and a half hours.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, who was also at the scene, extended a "message of affection and solidarity" to the victims.
A Paris fire department spokesman says that 36 people, including 12 in critical condition, have been injured in the blast at a bakery that was apparently caused by a gas leak.
Paris fire department spokesman Eric Moulin told reporters at the scene that five people were in life-threatening condition, including two firefighters.
Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz said "at this stage we can say it seems from accidental origin, this would be a gas leak." He said that Paris firefighters were already at the scene for a suspected gas leak on Saturday morning when the explosion happened. Investigations are ongoing to determine the exact cause of the blast.
Witnesses described the overwhelming sound of the blast. Charred debris and broken glass covered the pavement around the apartment building housing the bakery, which resembled a blackened carcass.
A witness says he saw Paris firefighters enter a bakery in the morning but he and his co-workers "thought maybe it's a joke, a false alarm" and they went back to work.
Pedro Goncalves, an employee at the Hotel Mercure opposite the bakery, said that about an hour later a blast rocked the surrounding streets.
"In the middle of nothing, I heard one big explosion and then a lot of pressure came at me (and) a lot of black smoke and glass," he said. "And I had just enough time to get down and cover myself and protect my head."
Goncalves said he "felt a lot of things fall on me" and that he was struck by shattered glass. He had a few cuts on his head, and spots of blood on his sweater and undershirt.
"Thank god I'm OK," he said, saying that the blast was so powerful that he heard whistling in his ears in the aftermath. Goncalves said that he ran for the exit and then went to check on the hotel's clients, adding that some of them had head injuries and were bleeding. He said that the hotel was "destroyed" in the blast.
Paris police say several people have been injured in an explosion and fire at a bakery believed caused by a gas leak.
A Paris police spokeswoman said firefighters are currently at the scene of the blast Saturday morning at the bakery on Rue Trevise in the 9th arrondissement of north-central Paris. She said several injuries have been reported to police but no deaths. The spokeswoman, who wasn't authorized to be publicly named, provided no further details.
French television showed emergency vehicles surrounding the area.
The explosion came amid heavy security in Paris and around France for yellow vest protests expected later Saturday.
Updated: January 12, 2019 02:21 PM
Created: January 12, 2019 01:54 PM
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