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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 February 2008, 15:27 GMT
One dead in French gas explosion
Scene of the explosion
Fire engulfed several buildings in the area

A gas explosion in the southern French city of Lyon has killed at a fireman and injured at least 26 people.

The explosion ripped through Cours Lafayette, a busy shopping street in the city centre, around midday.

Fire engulfed several nearby buildings after the blast, authorities said, and two of the injured remained in serious condition.

A gas leak had been noticed an hour before the explosion, which happened during road maintenance on the street.

The fireman had been investigating the source of the gas leak in a basement when the blast occurred, killing him, Lyon Mayor Gerard Colomb told AFP news agency.

Firefighters were sent to the scene in large numbers as the rest of the area was evacuated amid fears of a second blast.

French Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie was on her way to the scene.

Three die in French blast
27 Mar 03 |  Europe

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