Massive BLAST rocks Paris building as firefighters struggle with monster blaze (VIDEOS)
The blaze, which erupted somewhere between the first and fifth floors of the eight-story building at the intersection of Macdonald Boulevard and Pierre Mollaret, began around 9pm local time. Witnesses heard at least one violent explosion, which was recorded and has been widely shared on social media.
Around 100 firefighters and multiple firetrucks and ambulances were immediately dispatched to the scene in an effort to contain the blaze, which, a fire department spokesman said, spread quickly and engulfed several floors.
“We have managed to contain the fire,” the spokesperson for the capital’s fire service, Lieutenant Gabriel Plus, told reporters, while also stating that his personnel had, so far, reported no casualties. “A number of people had evacuated before our arrival.”
The fire spread “quite quickly” and at least 27 apartments were damaged to some extent before first responders managed to get the situation under control. Civil Protection Paris Seine (PCPS) has mobilized around 20 volunteers to set up beds for those affected and provide “material and psychological” support to the victims.
French officials have confirmed that the building is relatively modern and is not served by a gas pipeline. It was not immediately clear how the blaze began. Several electrical blackouts have been reported in the area.
Lieutenant Plus told reporters at the scene that his department believes that a number of flammable items that had been stored on various balconies in the building had "certainly contributed to the extraordinarily rapid spread of this fire."
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