A Paris explosion on Friday destroyed a residential building and injured five. The explosion that could be heard throughout all of central Paris happened around 12:20 p.m. local time and was reportedly caused by a gas leak. It’s unknown whether or not anyone was in the flats at the time of the explosion.
Paris residents were already on high alert following terror attacks in the city last year. One employee from Ferrandi College, a professional training school that is located in the same district where the explosion occurred, said people were scared and thought a bomb had gone off.
“We heard a loud explosion and saw smoke,” according to two students from the same college.
Firefighters and ambulances were sent to the scene after the explosion rocked the sixth administrative district in Paris shortly after noon. The Local reports that firefighters had already been on the scene for an hour before the explosion attempting to put out a typical house fire.
That fire originated on the ground floor of the Rue de Berite Street apartment building, located on the left bank of the River Seine near the Luxembourg Palace and Gardens, and was reportedly caused by a leaking gas stove.
“The Paris police press office told Sputnik the cause of the explosion was a house fire,” according to a report by RT on Friday.
Police said the original fire caused the gas stove to explode.
Said one witness, “Firefighters had been there for an hour trying to put out a blaze on the ground floor of a neighbouring building, then there was an almighty explosion that shook the whole area.”
The violent explosion completely destroyed three upper levels of the residential building in central Paris and injured at least five people, including firefighters, although none of the injuries are life-threatening and are considered only minor.
Huge plumes of smoke rose from the apartment building as residents were evacuated on Friday afternoon due to lingering gas fumes and fear of another explosion.
BREAKING: Another picture of that explosion in Paris pic.twitter.com/Kf7SXz43bX— Scott Campbell (@scottcampbell) April 1, 2016
Another witness of the Paris explosion, Jenna Binion, recalls in an interview that she felt her floor of the apartment building shake as she heard a loud noise and then smelled smoke. Binion went on to tell the Local that there were a lot of people in the street following the explosion, and she could hear sirens.
“I felt my floor shake and heard a loud noise, then it smelled like smoke outside. There are a lot of people in the streets and I can hear a lot of sirens.”
Other witnesses claim the explosion could even be felt inside the Tour Montparnasse office skyscraper, the second tallest skyscraper in France that overlooks the sixth administrative district. Located not far from the blast site in the Montparnasse area of Paris, the Tour Montparnasse tower actually moved when the blast went off, according to a tweet from Kem Phetsomphou, who was inside the Tour Montparnasse skyscraper at the time of the explosion.
Streets evacuated around Paris after explosion inside building https://t.co/yLsstlRUAI— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) April 1, 2016
The smell of gas fumes was reported by several local residents prior to Friday’s huge explosion in the French capital city near the Paris Stock Exchange, but evacuations were ordered only after the explosion had occurred. Roads have also been closed off surrounding the residential building that sustained extensive damage, with a hole ripped through the roof and all of the upper floors blown apart. Pictures of the blast are circulating on social media and thoughts are still on terrorism, but police are positive that this Paris explosion was just a “domestic accident” triggered by a severed gas pipe.
[Image via YouTube screenshot]