Several streets in Paris have been evacuated after an explosion in an apartment building in the centre of the French capital.
According to witnesses a violent explosion was heard in a several-storey house in the 6th arrondissement at around 12.30pm local time.
Witnesses have told of hearing a huge ‘bang’, after which dark smoke billowed over the rooftops near the building on Rue Bérite, not far from the Tour Montparnasse.
The blast is believed to have been caused by a gas leak or a severed gas pipe, French media reports.
While images show extensive damaged to an apartment building, police said only five people suffered minor injuries.
According to reports, the blast may have been triggered by a fire on the ground floor of a neighbouring building.
Firefighters had been at the scene for around an hour before the blast, trying to put out the blaze in the building next door.
Reports suggest that while the blast was caused by a gas leak, it may have been triggered by a fire in the building next door
Then there was an almighty explosion that shook the whole area, it’s terrible I saw several firefighters taken away on stretchers,’ a witness told Le Parisien.
Two of the five injured are reportedly firefighters.
‘I felt my floor shake and heard a loud noise, then it smelled like smoke outside,’ Jenna Binion, who lives nearby, told The Local.
‘There are a lot of people in the streets and I can hear a lot of sirens.’