A huge explosion, probably caused by a gas leak, gutted the ground floor of a building in a central Paris shopping district yesterday, killing four people and injuring 47 others, the authorities said.
Emergency staff helped victims as police stayed on high alert in the French capital for a ninth consecutive Saturday of "yellow vest" protests, with large parts of the city centre blocked off by riot police. In recent years, France has suffered Islamist militant attacks in Paris, Nice, Marseille and beyond. But Paris prosecutor Remi Heitz was quick to rule out foul play in yesterday's blast.
"We still need to determine the circumstances and cause of the explosion but at this stage, we can say it is clearly an accident, presumably a gas leak," he told reporters.
A police source said the explosion tore apart a bakery on the Rue Trevise in the Grands Boulevards district before firefighters arrived on the scene (below) to put out the flames.