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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

At Least 37 Injured after Huge Blast Sparks Fire in Paris

The explosion occurred at around 4:55 p.m. (1455 GMT) near Paris' historic Latin Quarter on Wednesday

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Sadaf Hasan
Sadaf Hasan
Aspiring reporter covering trending topics

FRANCE. Paris: On Wednesday, a blast tore through a street close to Paris’ historic Latin Quarter, and Rescuers were looking for two missing people who they believed to be buried beneath the debris of a building that partially collapsed during the explosion.

The explosion ripped through Rue Saint-Jacques, which connects the Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral with the Sorbonne University, in the late afternoon, wounding at least 37 people, four of whom were battling for their lives in the hospital.

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Gerald Darmanin, the interior minister, said that sniffer dogs had detected a scent beneath the pile of stone that had been spread out along Rue Saint-Jacques.

At the explosion site, Darmanin told reporters, “It is possible that we will find bodies tonight, or perhaps survivors.”

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The explosion completely destroyed the exterior of the building that housed the well-known design school, Paris American Academy, for international students.

Witnesses recounted a loud explosion and a massive fireball that rose several stories high. Soldiers assisted in establishing a safety perimeter around the incident.

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The Paris prosecutor’s office stated that it was very early to say what caused the explosion.

However, the local deputy mayor, Edouard Civel, mentioned a gas explosion in a tweet, and witnesses told BFM TV that there was a strong gas odour before the explosion.

The explosion occurred at around 4:55 p.m. (1455 GMT), just as employees were leaving for the day. Early summer is a popular time for tourists and international students to visit the area, but there was no immediate indication that foreigners were among the victims.

A number of surrounding buildings were evacuated. After more than two hours following the blast, first responders were still treating the individuals for shock. One woman passed out in the street.

“Paris prosecutor Laure Beccuau stated that Early signs suggested that the blast originated within the fallen structure. Investigators will look at whether building conditions violated standards or whether someone acted carelessly,” he added.

Over 300 firefighters were involved in getting the fire under control.

Rue Saint-Jacques connects the Latin Quarter, which has long been known as the residence of numerous French and expatriate writers, singers, and artists, with the Val de Grace military hospital. It is also only a few streets from the well-liked Jardin du Luxembourg. 

In January 2019, a gas leak in the 9th arrondissement resulted in an explosion that left four people dead and 66 injured. In April of that year, a blaze broke out in Notre Dame Cathedral, causing the destruction of a large portion of the roof as well as other damage before it was put out. 

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