Paris (AP) - In the heavy explosion in the middle of Paris, two people have died according to the latest information from the authorities. The casualties were firefighters, said a spokeswoman for the police and the Interior Ministry.
They corrected statements by French interior minister Christophe Castaner, who had previously spoken on television of four dead. The French news agency AFP reported, citing the Paris prosecutor, that it had two people died - and not four.
Originally, the fire department had been called on suspicion of escaping gas to the site of the later explosion, as the police spokeswoman said in the morning. Around 100 police officers and nearly 200 firefighters were in action, according to Interior Minister. The situation was under control, it said in the morning.
The explosion shook the 9th arrondissement in Paris shortly before announced demonstrations of the "yellow vests" in the capital. The authorities fear a renewed escalation of violence during the protests. Around 5000 security forces are deployed in Paris to secure the demonstrations. In recent weeks, the protests of the movement had repeatedly come to violence and riots. Especially Paris was affected.