UPDATE 1-Gas explosion rocks central Paris shopping district, 9 injured
A police source said the explosion tore apart a bakery on the rue Trevise in the Grands Boulevards district. The force of the blast shattered nearby storefronts and rocked buildings hundreds of metres away, witnesses said.
"The situation is now under control," Interior Minister Christophe Castaner told reporters on the scene. He said more than 200 firemen were involved in the rescue operation.
"There was broken glass everywhere, storefronts were blown out and windows were shattered up to the third and fourth floors," said 38-year-old David Bangura.
He said that as he approached the scene, a woman was crying for help from the first floor of a building: "Help us, help us, we have a child".
Two helicopters landed on the nearby Place de l'Opera to evacuate victims. (Reporting by Geert De Clercq, Caroline Paillez, Emmanuel Jarry, Simon Carraud, Lucien Libert, Christian Hartmann and Benoit Tessier Editing by Mark Heinrich)