One dead, four missing in Russian gas explosion

14 Jan 2019 / 16:02 H.

MOSCOW: One person was killed and four are missing after a gas explosion rocked a multi-storey residential building in southern Russia early on Monday, authorities said.

The blast, in the town of Shakhty in the southern Rostov region, destroyed four apartments on the top two floors of the building, a spokeswoman for the emergencies ministry said.

“A woman has died,“ the spokeswoman, Marina Abramchenko, told AFP.

The blast came two weeks after a gas explosion tore through a Russian apartment block in the Urals city of Magnitogorsk on New Year’s Eve, leaving 39 people dead.

Another emergencies ministry spokeswoman, Marina Chernyavskaya, said four people were missing in Shakhty and that a rescue operation involving more than 200 rescue workers was under way.

Russian investigators said they had opened a criminal case but ruled out foul play, saying the accident came as a result of a gas explosion.

A man and a two-year-old girl were hospitalised and their condition was “satisfactory“, said Chernyavskaya.

More than 40 people were evacuated to a nearby school.

Gas explosions are relatively common in Russia, where much of the infrastructure dates back to the Soviet era and safety requirements are often ignored.