PARIS — An intense explosion rocked a building in Paris’ Left Bank on Wednesday, resulting in at least 16 people sustaining injuries and causing a fire that released plumes of smoke over iconic city landmarks. Authorities swiftly evacuated nearby structures as emergency services battled the blaze. The cause of the blast remains unknown, and police are diligently working to determine its origin.
⚡️Massive explosion at american academy in Paris, France. Atleast 16 injured, including 6 in serious condition pic.twitter.com/LR4X6LFoAS— Megh Updates ?™ (@MeghUpdates) June 21, 2023
Located in the 5th arrondissement, the building suffered significant damage, with its facade collapsing. Rescue teams are currently assessing whether anyone is still trapped inside, according to a Paris police official. The explosion occurred in close proximity to the esteemed Val de Grace military hospital.
Providing an update, Paris police chief Laurent Nunez informed reporters that among the injured, seven individuals were in critical condition, requiring immediate medical attention. However, no details were disclosed regarding the presence of life-threatening injuries.
Although the fire has been contained, it has yet to be fully extinguished, Nunez stated.
Florence Berthout, the mayor of the affected arrondissement, described the explosion as exceptionally powerful, emphasizing that fragments of glass continued to fall from nearby buildings.
The police official mentioned multiple injuries, some of which are severe, but did not provide an exact count as emergency personnel continue their search and rescue efforts.
As firefighters tirelessly fought the blaze, the neighborhood remained cordoned off, flooded with a multitude of emergency responders, police officers, and soldiers.
Regarding the cause of the fire, Paris police spokeswoman Loubna Atta asserted that it is premature to determine its source and could not verify claims suggesting a gas explosion.
Achille, a student who was present at a building approximately 100 meters away from the blast, recounted the terrifying experience. He shared, “I was sitting on the windowsill when we were propelled 2 meters away by a sudden blast from the explosion, leaving us in a state of immense fear.” Achille, whose last name was not disclosed, continued, “We descended from the building and witnessed the flames. The police provided invaluable assistance, ensuring our swift evacuation.”
The investigation into the incident is ongoing, as authorities work diligently to uncover the cause of the explosion.