Dozens Injured, 2 Missing in Paris Explosion

Witnesses said they smelled gas before blast that destroyed fashion school
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 21, 2023 4:21 PM CDT
Dozens Injured, 2 Missing in Paris Explosion
Firefighters use a water cannon as they fight a blaze Wednesday, June 21, 2023, in Paris.   (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

A massive explosion in the center of Paris on Wednesday injured 29 people, four of them seriously, and two people are missing in the wreckage of a building that housed a private fashion school, authorities say. The cause of the blast is unknown, but some witnesses said there was a strong smell of gas before the explosion, the BBC reports. Witnesses said they saw a ball of flame up to 100 feet high before the building collapsed. The building in the upscale district housed the Catholic education system headquarters as well as the Paris American Academy fashion school, per the BBC.

The explosion and fire sent clouds of smoke over the city and prompted the evacuation of neighboring buildings. Some 270 firefighters and 70 emergency vehicles were sent to the scene, the AP reports. A local resident told AFP that he "heard a huge explosion which made the windows vibrate." "I thought it was a bombing. It echoed in the apartment," he said. "I had 10 seconds of great concern, many people were at the windows." Another witness was Greek-French filmmaker Costa-Gavras. "A huge noise and the house was shaken," the 90-year-old told the AP. "We thought, what is going on?" Authorities have launched an investigation and urged people to avoid the area. (More Paris stories.)

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