31 injured in suspected gas blast at Italian migrant centre

The fire service said there had been an 'explosion and partial collapse' of the building it described as a reception centre, 'probably as a result of a gas leak'

By AFP

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Published: Sat 11 Nov 2023, 2:21 PM

A suspected gas explosion partially brought down a building housing asylum seekers in central Italy overnight injuring 31 people, firefighters said Saturday.

A video published by the fire service showed sections of the two-storey building in San Lorenzo Nuovo, near Viterbo, reduced to rubble after the blast which occurred shortly before midnight.

The fire service said there had been an "explosion and partial collapse" of the building it described as a reception centre, "probably as a result of a gas leak".

Thirty-one people had been confirmed injured, it said, after rescue searches that included the use of sniffer dogs.

One person was in a serious condition, transported by helicopter to a hospital in Rome and currently in a coma, according to the ANSA news agency.

It said the building was made up of mini-apartments hosting asylum seekers, mostly men but also women without children.

A carpenter's workshop and a wine shop adjacent to the building were also destroyed, ANSA said.

Investigations into the cause of the explosion are underway.

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