The explosion occurred on Friday afternoon in the suburb of Boulogne Billancourt to the south west of Paris.
Photos and videos from the scene showed what appeared to have been a blast on the second or third floor of the building.
It created a force strong enough to blow the street-facing walls off.
— Claire (@Claire_Biz) January 20, 2017
At least five people were injured in the blast, reported BFM TV, two of whom were said to be in an urgent state.
Boulogne-Billancourt : une explosion a en partie détruit un immeuble, route de la Reine, ce vendredi à la mi-journée. pic.twitter.com/X6uD0vSvpH
— Visactu (@visactu) January 20, 2017
Witnesses at the scene said that the explosion left the ground shaking, and sent huge plumes of smoke into the air (see tweet below).
— Mahjoub nada (@Mahjoubnada1) January 20, 2017
— Judith GirardMarczak (@judithgirardm) January 20, 2017
Explosion sûrement du au Gaz à Boulogne, route de la Reine en face de Mercedes pic.twitter.com/gFMX18QQhv
— Victor A (@Victor_A3) January 20, 2017
In May last year another huge gas explosion blew apart the top of an apartment block in central Paris. Luckily no one was hurt.