A gas explosion in central Paris injured more than 20 people and two are believed to be missing.
The powerful blast happened in the Val-de-Grâce neighborhood of the French capital, near the Senate, a city official said.
The explosion happened in a building on rue Saint-Jacques in the fifth arrondissement, which served as the headquarters of a design school and the home of the Catholic education system.
29 people were injured, four of them seriously.
Rescue workers have searched the rubble of the building, with at least two of them believed to be missing.
Paris police said they were there.
Images showed huge plumes of black smoke rising into the sky over the city.
Footage showed a collapsed building bursting into flames as flaming debris fell onto the street below.
A police officer said the front of the building collapsed onto the street after the massive blast.
Police urged the public to avoid the area.
Officials in the 5th arrondissement attributed the explosion and fire to a gas leak.
District Mayor Florence Berthout said: “The explosion was extremely violent” and described that glass fragments were still falling from buildings.
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin confirmed firefighters were battling a blaze on Rue Saint-Jacques – near the Jardin du Luxembourg and the Sorbonne University.
A student at the Ecole des Mines on Boulevard Saint-Michel told Le Parisien: “I was in front of the Val de Grâce, I heard a tremendous bang and I saw a fireball 20 or 30 meters high.”
“And the building collapsed with a great deal of noise. I smelled gas but it took me several minutes to come to my senses.”
Antoine Brouchot said that BBC He was at home when he heard a “big explosion”.
“I stuck my head out the window and looked at Cochin [hospital]Then I saw a big cloud of smoke and as I got closer a building had collapsed and it’s on fire right now.”
Around 270 firefighters were involved in fighting the fire, and 70 emergency vehicles were on site.
A student at the private school said he was in a building about 100 meters (yards) from the blast.
“I sat on the window sill and we moved two meters from the window, carried by a small pressure wave (from the explosion) and great fear,” Achille, whose last name was not given, told BFM television.
“We came down (from the building) and saw the flames,” he said. “The police gave us great support and we were able to evacuate quickly.”