Seventh victim of gas blast as grim search goes on

2nd May 2007, Comments 0 comments

2 May 2007 , PALENCIA - Seven people were killed when an explosion due to a gas leak caused a building to collapse in the northern Spanish city of Palencia.

2 May 2007

PALENCIA - Seven people were killed when an explosion due to a gas leak caused a building to collapse in the northern Spanish city of Palencia.

Two other residents of the structure remained missing on Wednesday as the search continued.

The building collapsed shortly before 6 amon Tuesday.

About 20 residents of the five-story building in downtown Palencia were injured, of which 15 still remain hospitalized.

So far, in the rubble from the completely collapsed building, emergency workers have found the bodies of seven people who perished in the accident.

The structure collapsed and relatives of the residents of the building have been awaiting news since then on the fate of their loved ones.

The explosion levelled the building, and witnesses said they heard a great crashing sound and saw people running into the street.

One of the first reporters to arrive on the scene was Agencia Efe photojournalist Manuel Bragimo, who lives nearby.

"It was a sudden crashing sound that could be heard perfectly and startled us," Bragimo said.

Architect Jesus Mateo Pinilla, one of many residents who went to the blast site, told Efe that the building "collapsed on itself," probably due to a gas explosion, adding that he saw ripped up pipes through the smoke from the fire.

"The explosion was so terrible that there must be many victims," Jose Luis Gonzalez, a neighbor, told Efe, adding that he had never seen "anything like it" and that he had really been scared until he determined that his brother and mother were both unharmed.

Another local resident, Angela Martin, said the scene was like something out of Dante and that after her initial "sensation of fright" at what had happened, she thought "about the people who ... died.

The representative of the government of Castile and Leon, Miguel Alejo, arrived on the scene and confirmed that everything pointed to a gas leak as the cause of the blast, adding that the rescue work was proceeding slowly because the ruins are unstable and it is necessary to work with care in case there are other buried survivors.

Also arriving at the accident site was the head of the regional Castile and Leon government, Juan Vicente Herrera, who issued a call for calm to the public and expressed support for the victims and their relatives.

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero spoke with Mayor Gallego, who told him the particulars known so far about the blast and updated him on the status of the injured.

King Juan Carlos and Crown Prince Felipe, the heir to the Spanish throne, also spoke by telephone with the mayor to impart to him the royal family's sorrow over the tragedy. EFE

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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