Apartment blast kills eight in Kazan
The explosion ripped through the building at around 1 am. Authorities say it was caused by a gas leak in a first-floor flat.
A powerful fire began immediately after the explosion. People escaped while still wearing their robes and slippers in sub zero temperatures.
More than 100 rescue workers spent the day battling the blaze and clearing the rubble in the hope of finding survivors.
“It's difficult to ascertain the number of people in the house because some of them have been away and some might have had guests,” Mintimer Shaimiev, the President of Tatarstan said.
Seven bodies were found in the rubble, and one woman died from her injuries in hospital.
Two people – a seven-year-old girl and her grandfather – are reported missing.
Twelve apartments were destroyed.
Emergency Ministry officials say the neglect of safety precautions and poor infrastructure probably caused the blast.
A criminal investigation has been launched.