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14 Jan, 2008 17:26

Two gas blasts leave seven dead in Russia

Two near identical gas explosions in different parts of Russia have killed seven people and devastated apartment buildings. Six deaths followed a blast in a block in the southern town of Zheleznovodsk. The second explosion was in a similar residential bui

The blast in the Samara region killed one and injured nine people, according to reports. Emergency services are investigating into causes of the explosion.
The tragedies are the latest in a succession of blazes which have become increasingly common in Russian apartment buildings and public facilities.
Stavropol region explosion
The first blast happened just after 2am, as the residents of the town of Zheleznovodsk in the Stavropol region were sleeping. It ripped through the upper floors of a five-storey apartment building.
Six bodies were pulled from the rubble after the pre-dawn blaze. A four-month-old baby and a six-year-old child were among the dead, while two others have been hospitalised with serious burns.
A total of four other neighbouring apartments had their middle floors destroyed and the effects of the explosion were felt in an area of 200 square metres.
Early reports suggest the blast was caused by an unattended gas stove.
Stavropol local emergencies official, Igor Oder, said it's likely that somebody turned on their gas cooker to stay warm.
“This was probably an elderly man, and our theory is that the stove was left on, then there was an interruption to the gas supply, and there was an explosion. But so far this is just a theory we’re considering,” Oder said.
Rescuers continued to search the site well into the morning, but no other residents are thought to be missing.

Crane and building machinery were brought in by nearby emergency services and are already clearing the debris on the fourth and fifth storeys of the block.
Nearly 60 people had to be evacuated from their homes.  They all went either to relatives or local housing.
City officials insist that the brick building at the centre of the tragedy was in a good condition and that it will be repaired.
Just last week eight people were killed in a suspected gas explosion in an apartment building in Kazan.  And 17 were hospitalised in a similar accident in Elektrostal outside Moscow on January 4.