PARIS: Two firefighters and a Spanish woman have died in a massive explosion caused by a “pocket of gas” in a six-storey building in Paris on Saturday.Forty-seven others were injured in the blast, 10 of them seriously, the prosecutor´s office said, after initial reports erroneously said four people had been killed.
The French interior minister, Christophe Castaner, told journalists at the scene two firefighters and two civilians had died. The death toll figure was later revised down by the police and confirmed by the minister in a tweet.
“At 8.37am the fire brigade was called to 6 Rue Trévise to investigate a gas leak. While they were there a dramatic explosion occurred,” Castaner said. He praised the courage of the firefighters who risked their lives to save people. He said one firefighter had remained under the rubble for two and a half hours before being rescued by colleagues. The Spanish foreign minister Josep Borrell said: “I profoundly regret the death of three people in an explosion in central Paris, among them one Spanish citizen.”
Rémy Heitz, the Paris public prosecutor, said an investigation had been launched into the tragedy. The origin of the explosion was a “pocket of gas”. He added that the tragedy appeared to be “accidental” but that police experts would verify the exact reason for the explosion.