Four people have been killed in a gas explosion at a residential building in the Turnhout area of Belgium. Two women were rescued from the rubble and taken to hospital, Flemish City Mayor Paul van Meerd told AFP on Saturday.
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One of the rescued women was buried in the rubble for 14 hours. Rescue workers were able to be contacted shortly after the explosion in the morning, but were unable to recover for more than half a day due to severe damage to the building. Mayor Paul von Myert said Saturday that he is “very good” at the situation.
This means that no resident is considered missing anymore. The search operation was halted, according to the Belgian news agency Belga’s von Mierd.
The bomber struck shortly after noon in front of a police station. The blast tore a hole in a four-story apartment building with 16 apartments. Numerous window panes were broken in the area. “It must have been a big gas bubble,” Van Myert said. Police, firefighters and civilian rescue teams worked “very hard” to recover the survivors and bodies.
Forensic scientists are now examining the ruins and thermal systems to find the exact cause of the explosion. The mayor said the building should be demolished. Also the damaged nearby building will be stabilized and habitable. (AFP, dpa)