Numerous injuries were reported late Wednesday when a massive explosion rocked central Paris causing extensive property damage and leaving the city reeling as investigators worked to determine a cause.
The blast occurred in the fifth arrondissement, near the Rue Saint Jacques. The area, known as the Latin Quarter, is home to several well-known institutions, including the Paris American Academy, and is a popular location with tourists.
At approximately 5 PM local time, the explosion blew through the streets shaking buildings so hard that many residents compared the blast to an earthquake.
A local resident told CNN, "It felt like an earthquake, the windows banged against each other."
The city's Deputy Mayor Édouard Civel later posted a tweet claiming that the blast was caused by a gas explosion and noted that witnesses reported a strong smell of gas before the explosion.
The blast resulted in a large fire that quickly spread to other buildings. Some 270 firefighters were deployed to contain the flames.
A total of 37 people are reported to have suffered injuries, with 4 in critical condition and one person still missing. The force of the explosion knocked people off their feet and sent debris flying, striking many in close proximity.
An investigation has been launched by local authorities to confirm the suspicion that a gas leak caused the explosion.
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