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9 Jan, 2012 12:56

Two dead, 41 injured in Moscow restaurant blast

Two people have been killed as a result of an explosion in an Italian restaurant, called "Il Pittore" in south-west Moscow. Forty one more have reportedly been injured. The blast damaged the roof and walls of the building and set it ablaze.

The Russian Emergency Ministry reports that a domestic gas explosion caused two gas canisters located in the restaurant’s kitchen to blow up at around 3.30 PM Moscow time (11.30 AM GMT) on Monday. The blasts blew out windows and caused the walls and roof to collapse. The kitchen area then caught fire. The blaze was initially contained within the kitchen, but quickly spread to cover 250 square meters. Firefighters were sent to the scene and were able to douse the fire by 16.50 PM. Authorities have already excluded the possibility that the blasts were part of a terrorist attack. A Moscow health department official said 39 people were injured, with 32 of them hospitalized. Most of the people were injured by shattered glass and sustained skin burns. The condition of six injured people was classified as serious. Both of the dead victims were apparently employees of the restaurant. The investigative committee says two criminal cases have been launched: one on providing unsafe services and on involuntary manslaughter. The Emergency Ministry has issued a preliminary statement, saying the explosions were caused by improper use of gas equipment. The Moscow city government says it will pay one million roubles (31,250 US dollars) in compensation to the families of the deceased victims. It will also pay 40,000 rubles (1,250 US dollars) for their funeral services and will hand out 500,000 rubles (15,625 US dollars) to the injured victims.