PARIS (Reuters) -A gas explosion started a blaze in buildings in the Latin Quarter of central Paris, officials and witnesses said.

BFM TV showed fire services sealing off the hire and trying to hose down a building, and Parisians posted images on Twitter of a huge plume of smoke that was visible across much of the city.

Journalist Olivier Galzi told BFM TV that he had seen the facade of a nearby building “completely collapse.”

Police urged people to avoid the area.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said the fire was locted on Rue Saint-Jacques in the 5th arrondissement close to the Jardin du Luxembourg and the Sorbonne University.

“This is chaos,” said Christopher Gaglione, who said he witnessed the scene.


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