West News Wire: On Wednesday, a large explosion in Paris destroyed the fronts of numerous buildings, resulting in numerous fatalities. Local authorities claim a gas leak was the reason for the explosion. 

On Wednesday afternoon, a street in the affluent 5th Arrondissement of Paris was torn apart by the explosion, leaving the pavement littered with debris. From several kilometers away, one could see a column of black smoke and flames pouring from broken windows. 

Local councilor Edouard Civel said on Twitter that there had been a “gas explosion” and urged people to stay away from the area while firemen battled the ensuing blaze. 

According to the French network BFMTV, at least seven persons suffered critical injuries, and nine others only sustained minor wounds. According to the network, these numbers were based on “a very provisional assessment” of the situation. 

Managing a restaurant close to the explosion location, one witness told BFMTV that his establishment was “destroyed.” The witness stated that the building is “completely on fire” and that the explosion “destroyed the facades” of other surrounding shops.  

A prominent fashion design school, the Paris American Academy, may be seen on video footage fully destroyed and ablaze. According to unconfirmed sources, the explosion may have started within the academy building. 

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