Russia: Gas explosion destroys building in Novosibirsk
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At least two people have died and eight wounded in a gas explosion deep into Russia’s Siberian region after a multistorey building “collapsed”, burying civilians under the rubble. Emergency services rushed to the scene in the early hours of Thursday morning after a five-storey apartment block caught ablaze, killing at least one person immediately, as the fire spread across 300 square metres, according to local reports. Three people are known to be still trapped under the rubble, according to the chief of the Russian emergencies ministry for the Novosibirsk region, where the incident took place.
Footage of the disaster shows the crumbled entrance to the five-storey apartment block in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk as dozens of emergency workers work to stabilise the scene.
A huge plume of smoke engulfs the front of the building while a fire burns through the ground floor.
The death toll thus far is two, according to local governor Andrey Travnikov, while more are still buried under the detritus of the disaster.
A spokesman for the on-hand emergency services said: “According to preliminary data, two people died. More people might be buried under the rubble. Their number is being verified.”
One person was killed instantly by the explosion, which is reported to have destroyed around 30 apartments.
A second person was rushed to hospital, where they later died of “carbon monoxide poisoning”, Travnikov said on Thursday morning.
When the initial incident occurred, he said that “as a result of a gas explosion, an apartment block of a five-story building on Lineinaya Street in the Zayeltsovsky district collapsed”.
Viktro Orlov, chief of the Russian emergencies ministry’s Novosibirsk region department, said that at least three people, if not more, are still buried under the rubble, though the exact figure was pending further search and rescue efforts.
He said: “Preliminarily, at least three people may still be under the rubble. Efforts are being made to find the whereabouts of the house’s residents.”
One person, however, who was reported as killed in the household gas explosion has reportedly been revived.
Search and rescue operations are planned to be completed by the end of the day, he added.
The city’s authorities have said that the residents made homeless by the explosion will be settled in a new place.
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According to emergency services, the blast was preliminarily caused by a gas leak in one of the apartments.
A criminal investigation has now been opened to ascertain exactly what caused the explosion.
Open source intelligence groups have suggested that hundreds of unexplained fires across Russia, particularly around the Moscow region, could have something to do with a growing public disdain for the war.
Gauging the public mood in Russia, however, is difficult given the Kremlin’s crackdown on dissent.
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