France: Gas blast hurts 37 people and seriously injures four in Paris

Fire workers at the explosion street in Paris. Photo: EPA PHOTO 

Rescue workers are looking for two missing people who may be buried under the wreckage of a building that partially collapsed after an explosion at a street close to Paris's historic Latin Quarter.

Late on Wednesday, an explosion tore through Rue Saint-Jacques, which connects the Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral with the Sorbonne University. At least 37 people were hurt, four of whom were hospitalized and in critical condition.

Sniffing dogs discovered a scent under the pile of stone that had been left strewn over Rue Saint-Jacques, according to Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin.

Darmanin reporters at the scene that, “It is possible tonight that we will find bodies or perhaps survivors.”

The blast demolished the front of the Paris American Academy design school, which is popular with international students.

Witnesses reported hearing a tremendous explosion and seeing a massive fireball rise several stories high.

Soldiers assisted in establishing a safety perimeter around the location.

The Paris prosecutor's office said it was too early to speculate on the cause of the explosion.

However, the local deputy mayor, Edouard Civel, mentioned a gas explosion on Twitter, and witnesses told BFM TV that there was a strong smell of gas shortly before the boom.

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