Czech gas blast toll rises to five

At least five people, three of them children, have died and 11 were injured in a gas explosion that destroyed an apartment building in the eastern Czech Republic on Sunday, rescuers said.

By (AFP)

Published: Mon 18 Feb 2013, 5:46 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 3:32 PM

“We have registered 11 injured people and so far five victims, of them three under 18 years,” local fire brigade spokesman Petr Kudela told AFP after rescuers had found bodies overnight.

The previous toll had stood at two dead and 11 injured.

Czech media said one of the victims was a pre-schooler and two were school-aged children.

“We cannot rule out the toll may rise because we’re looking for another person,” local police spokeswoman Sona Stetinska told AFP.

She added the search had been temporarily suspended as “the building is not stable enough.”

The blast occurred in a three-storey house with six flats in the eastern town of Frenstat pod Radhostem at around 0300 GMT on Sunday, “with all signs pointing to it being a gas explosion,” regional police chief Tomas Tuhy said earlier.

Two injured people, a woman and a man who suffered 90- and 50-percent burns, respectively, were kept in an artificial coma in critical condition in a hospital in the nearby city of Ostrava.

Unconfirmed reports in the Czech media said that one of the victims, a man who had been expelled from his flat for non-payment of rent, may have caused the blast on purpose after earlier threatening to kill the people living in the house.

More news from WORLD