Casualties after gas explosion in Paris

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

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

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.

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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.

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Paris and other French cities have been bracing themselves for a new round of anti-government protests by “yellow vest” demonstrators, although the explosion is not thought to be connected with the demonstrations.

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

A resident named Killian was asleep when the explosion blew in his windows. Everybody in the building came downstairs, he said, and he could hear screaming.

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The blast also destroyed a theatre, he told French news channel BFMTV.

Paula Nagui, a receptionist at the nearby Diva Hotel, said there had been an “enormous blast” that shattered all the windows.

Anxious guests had received assurances that it was not a terror attack, she told Le Parisien.

 

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