Police were investigating suspicions that a gas leak caused the blast, which ignited a fire and sent smoke soaring over the French capital’s monuments, prompting the evacuation of other properties. At least 24 people were injured in the strong explosion that rocked a building in Paris’ Left Bank on Wednesday.
The blast occurred in close proximity to the renowned Val de Grace military hospital, situated in a highly affluent area of the French capital. The exterior of the structure in the 5th arrondissement crumbled. The mayor of the district stated that rescue teams were actively seeking two individuals who could potentially be stuck within the premises.
Paris bars and restaurants marked the summer solstice with a citywide yearly music festival, however, the fire was controlled on Wednesday evening without being put out. Approximately 270 firefighters participated in extinguishing the fire, and 70 emergency vehicles were dispatched to the location.
The explosion took place on Jacques Saint-rue street, causing the building to release smoke. Reporters from the Associated Press stated that the area had been cordoned off previously, but residents were now able to move freely again. Ambulances passed through the neighborhood as sirens wailed.
The American Academy in Paris, a private school founded in 1965, offers teaching in fine arts, interior design, and fashion design. The school is housed in a building, as mentioned by Laurent Nunez, the chief of police in Paris.
The official stated, “The injuries were primarily sustained when individuals were forcefully propelled off their feet by the explosion.” According to the AP report, 24 individuals were harmed, with four in critical condition and 20 with less severe injuries.
Jema Halbert, the owner of a butcher’s shop near the location of the explosion, stated that she had gone upstairs to retrieve an item when she heard a loud noise. As a result, she proceeded downstairs and discovered her husband in a state of shock, with dust near the cash register, which made her realize that there was an issue. Consequently, she went outside and witnessed large flames, prompting her to exclaim that it was inconceivable. In her distress, she contacted her daughter, who was both crying and astonished.
One of the possible causes of the gas explosion, according to a judicial official, was under investigation. Other officials were more careful, but Edouard Civel, the deputy mayor of the 5th arrondissement, attributed the explosion to a gas leak.
“According to Florence Berthout, the Mayor of the District, firefighters were searching for two people who were believed to have been inside the building at the time of the extremely violent explosion. She stated this on the French TV channel BFM.”
Famous Greek-French director Costa-Gavras was one of the observers at the location.
The 90-year-old, visibly disturbed, informed the AP, “In this manner, the residence was jolted, accompanied by a substantial clamor.” “What is happening? We speculated it might be the heavens (a tempest). … It’s not a matter to be taken lightly,” we pondered.
The Paris prosecutor said that an investigation has been opened into the explosion, which is suspected to have stemmed from a violation of safety rules. Investigators would seek to determine whether the explosion was caused by the imprudence of an individual or a failure to respect a rule. Beccuau Laure, the prosecutor, stated that the probe would also examine whether the explosion led to aggravated involuntary injury.
Nunez stated that the firefighters averted the fire from starting in two adjacent structures that were “severely weakened” by the blast and needed to be emptied. Onlookers and the chief of police affirmed that the explosion shattered numerous windows in the vicinity.
In the blast that occurred in the 9th district of Paris in January 2019, dozens of people were injured and four were killed. The explosions were not caused by a stranger, but rather by the aging infrastructure of the city, which is sometimes packed densely within its historic limits and is home to more than 2 million people.
After Wednesday’s blast, a student at the private school said he was in a building about 100 meters away from the explosion.
BFM television informed Achille, whose surname was not disclosed, that he experienced “immense terror” caused by a minor explosion, prompting him to swiftly move 2 meters away from the window while he was seated on the windowsill.
“We came down (from the building) and saw the flames,” he said. “The police gave us great support and we evacuated quickly.”.