How did the Paris explosion happen? What do authorities say about blast that injured at least 37?
- At least 37 people were injured by an explosion in the city’s fifth arrondissement
- The blast occurred in central Paris, near the Pantheon Monument
An explosion in the busy Latin Quarter of central Paris has left at least 37 people with injuries.
The blast took place in Rue Saint-Jacques, in the fifth arrondissement of the French capital and resulted in several buildings catching fire.
But how exactly did the Paris explosion happen in the first place?
Read on below for all you need to know regarding the possible causes of the explosion that hit Paris.
Fire fighters rush to the centre of the explosion in Paris ‘ fifth arrondissement
Smoke rises from a building at Place Alphonse-Laveran in the 5th arrondissement of Paris
The building was reduced to rubble, with the wreckage of a collapsed roof and outer wall lying in the street
How did the Paris explosion happen?
The ‘privileged theory’ for the blast was believed to be a gas explosion, which is not the first to have occurred in central Paris in recent years.
The explosion destroyed part of the Paris American Academy, which offers courses in fashion, interior design, and the arts.
The road where the building is situated leads from the Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral to the Sorbonne University and the Val de Grace military hospital and is a few blocks from the popular Jardin du Luxembourg.
The area is usually packed with tourists and foreign students in the early summer.
Several social media clips showed blackened and destroyed buildings as a result of the blaze which followed the explosion.
In 2019, two firefighters and a Spanish woman were killed by a huge blast at a bakery near the Paris Opera – an area hugely popular with tourists.
That incident came as emergency services were responding to a gas leak when a dramatic explosion occurred, also injuring 47 other people.
It has resulted in the city’s gas network being described as a ‘ticking time bomb’ because it is in such a poor state of repair.
Bystanders watch in disbelief as plumes of thick black smoke billow out from the building where the explosion took place
A giant plume of smoke tumbles into the sky after a gas explosion in Paris
What do French authorities say about the explosion?
Authorities in Paris have opened an emergency response unit in the wake of the explosion, but police spokesperson Loubna Atta said there is still no official confirmation on the cause of the blast and subsequent fire.
The Paris prosecutor said an investigation was opened into aggravated involuntary injury, whilst confirming that the initial ‘privileged theory’ for the cause of the fire is ‘a gas explosion’.
Prosecutor Laure Beccuau said investigators would seek to ‘determine whether or not there was failure to respect a rule or individual imprudence that led to the explosion’.
Following explosions in recent years, city councillor Alexandre Vesperini said the whole system was ‘rundown and poorly’ managed.
A view from another angle shows the ruinous state of the building, with the upper storeys completely blown away by the explosion
‘I don’t blame gas fitters, but I have to point out that the network, set up at the start of the 20th century, is a veritable ticking time bomb,’ Mr Vesperini said in 2019.
‘I was at home writing…I thought it was a bomb,’ said art historian Monique Mosser, adding that many of the windows in her building had been blown out by the blast’s shockwave.
‘A neighbour knocked on the door and told me that the fire brigade were asking us to evacuate as quickly as possible. I grabbed my laptop, my phone. I didn’t even think to get my medication.’