rue pajol explosion paris apartment
© Twitter / @marxdorm
A five-storey apartment complex at 49 Rue Pajol in the eighteenth arrondissement of the French capital was badly damaged by an explosion of unknown origin on Sunday night. The whole building has been evacuated because of the risk of it collapsing, with 70 residents being relocated to an emergency shelter.

Two apartments were completely destroyed. According to firefighters, a woman has suffered burns on 20% of her body, but she is in stable condition. A man was also slightly injured.

Cause Unknown

According to the firefighters, this explosion could lead to the collapse of the building. As a precaution, 70 residents were evacuated to an emergency shelter. On social networks, several residents shared images of the ravaged apartment and they are impressive.

Colombe Brossel, the deputy mayor, and responsible for security, stated that an investigation is underway to confirm the origin of the explosion.

Michelle, a neighborhood resident who lives near the building, describes what she heard and saw that evening:
"At around 21:30, we heard a loud boom. We have balconies, so I thought our balcony was falling down. Then I saw a huge hole in front of the apartment across from us. What surprised me was that there was still electricity in the apartment."
From their apartment in the building opposite, on the other side of the inner courtyard, Elisa and Michael, describe what they saw:
"We thought we'd been hit by a sudden, powerful storm. The explosion was immediately followed by a shower of rubble. The front wall of the first floor apartment was ripped open, then a pillar broke and the top floor collapsed. We saw a man in black staggering, falling, getting up and finally collapsing on his couch. We were screaming out of our window to wait. That help was coming... But he did not seem to hear us. It was amazing. A few minutes before, we were watching people in the building opposite live normally. All of a sudden, this apocalyptic scene emerged..."

Lieutenant-Colonel Gabriel Plus, spokesman for Paris fire emergency services, has warned that other collapses could occur because the foundation of this nineteenth century building has been compromised:
"Everything is extremely fragile. Stays are currently being installed and we have installed laser rangefinders to monitor possible movements in the building structure."
Five adjacent buildings remain inaccessible because they are subject to a city prohibition order until they have been inspected, which were issued on the recommendation of both police and fire departments.

Paris has had a lot of major fires and apartment explosions lately... Here's just a sample of incidents: It's highly unlikely that any one factor accounts for - or is to be found behind - all these incidents, but we cannot fail to notice the socio-political context it is happening in: a nationwide insurgency against the French political class as a whole - especially those elements centered in Paris.