PARIS: A massive gas explosion destroyed the top floors and roof of a residential building in central Paris on Friday, injuring 17 people, rescuers and police said.
The blast near the Jardin de Luxembourg park caused jitters in the French capital, which remains on edge after the Paris attacks in November and the Brussels bombings last month.
It was traced to a fire that caused a gas stove to blow up, sending a thick cloud of smoke into the sky, police said. “People were scared, they thought it was a bomb,” an employee of the nearby Ferrandi culinary institute told AFP.
The force of the blast blew out some of the windows at the prestigious school, a witness said. A fireman was seriously injured in the blast and another 16 people were also hurt, including 10 firefighters.
“I was at home, the windows shook in my building two streets away… We thought it was an attack,” said local resident Sylvie Guillaumin, 51, adding that gas supplies had been cut in the area.
The blast came more than four months after the jihadist attacks in the French capital in November that claimed 130 lives and more recently the March 22 attacks in Brussels.
French authorities announced last week they had foiled an attack plot after discovering a stash of weapons and explosives in a Paris suburb. AFP