UPDATE: 5:57 a.m. EST — The death toll from the collapse of a building in the Russian city of Yaroslavl after a gas explosion rose to seven, Russian news agency Tass reported Tuesday, citing an official at the press service. The official added that among those dead were three women, two men, a teenage girl and a 5-year-old boy.
Nine other people have been reportedly injured and three of them are in critical condition. The gas explosion completely destroyed five apartments in the building while 10 others were partially damaged, according to reports.
Initial reports said that government officials denied it could be a terrorist attack. A criminal investigation was launched to probe whether the services failed to be meet security standards, Tass reported.
A residential building in the Russian city of Yaroslavl, about 164 miles north of Moscow, collapsed Tuesday after a gas explosion, killing at least one person and raising fears that several people may have been trapped under the debris. There were conflicting reports on the number of people trapped in the building and the death toll.
“Gas exploded in a five-story residential building, the structure caved in from the first to the fifth floor,” an official from the emergencies ministry told Ria Novosti, according to Russia Today, adding: “People remain under rubble.”
The official said that at least 10 apartments in the building have collapsed and four bodies have been pulled out of the debris. Officials have also rescued four people, including a child. All of them suffered serious injuries and were hospitalized.
While Sputnik News reported that the collapse has killed at least one person, Russia Today reported that at least four people died in the incident.
“Five have been excavated, three more people may still remain under the debris. A baby boy is allegedly among them,” a source told Ria Novosti, according to Sputnik News, adding: “All of them were rescued alive, but one man died during hospitalization.”
According to Indo-Asian News Service (IANS), which cited the Russian emergency situations ministry, 39 people were trapped in the debris. The ministry also reportedly estimated that between seven and 20 people were in the building at the time of the incident. The ministry has warned of more casualties.
While there wasn’t a fire after the explosion, ministry officials feared that the building, which consists of four blocks and 20 apartments, could collapse further. Officials have blamed faulty gas equipment for the explosion, a source at the scene told Ria Novosti, according to Russia Today.
— CCTVNEWS (@cctvnews) February 16, 2016
— Sputnik (@SputnikInt) February 16, 2016