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Paris building blast: One person missing and four seriously injured

The blast and subsequent fire happened at the Paris American Academy in the heart of the French capital

The Paris American Academy bilingual design school in Paris in the heart of the Latin quarter

A total of 37 people were injured after an explosion at the Paris American Academy Pic: OKcamera | Shutterstock

One person remained missing on Thursday (June 22) after a huge explosion caused the partial collapse of a building in Paris.

The blast happened at the Paris American Academy around 17:00 on Wednesday (June 21).

It left 37 people injured, which included six in intensive care. Two people were initially reported missing, but one of them was later found.

Videos on social media showed flames and thick smoke billowing out from the explosion, which left a large pile of rubble laying in the middle of the street.

The public prosecutor's office opened an investigation for involuntary injuries, with the aggravating circumstance of "deliberate endangerment of others' lives," stated the Paris prosecutor.

Initial findings suggest that the explosion originated from within the building, the prosecutor added.

Two neighbouring buildings were evacuated as a precaution on Wednesday.

Emmanuel Grégoire, first deputy mayor of Paris, told FranceInfo on Thursday morning that “luckily the nearby buildings, although they were damaged, did not collapse”. If they had, he added, “the outcome would have been more serious”.

What is the Paris American Academy?

The Paris American Academy was founded in 1965 as a bilingual private school attracting students pursuing a bachelor's degree with a specialisation in arts, fashion, design, and cultural studies.

It prides itself on maintaining small class sizes and its website states that it can accommodate up to 75 students from around the world.

The school's website says it offers everything from three-year programmes and semester programmes to summer workshops.

The majority of courses are taught in English. The academy also welcomes American students who participate in university exchange programmes, including those from Chicago's Dominican University.

Classes were mainly taught in the Pavilion du Val de Grace, a 17th-century building, where the explosion took place on Wednesday.

The building has been classed as “historic” since 1932, according to France’s culture ministry. 

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