At least 3 people have been reported dead after a gas explosion in a residential building near Moscow, Russia.
The incident happened on Saturday, April 4, 2020. The 5-story building is located in Orekhovo-Zuyevo, an industrial city 84 kilometers east of Moscow. The structure consists of prefabricated elements and was erected back in the 1960s.
The blast occurred on the 3rd floor and affected most of the building's stories. In particular, 10 apartments partially collapsed but the rest of the building appears to remain undamaged.
A local resident who lives in the neighborhood and witnessed the explosion mentioned that he was standing near his house window and felt the shock wave. He added that, at first, people thought it was a vehicle explosion but then they noticed the structural collapse. "At first things were not clear, it looked like a car blast, there was a little bit of smoke. And then people ran there. Only a roof has remained," he said.
The Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations launched a rescue mission in search of survivors. Unfortunately, at least 3 people died and 6 more were injured (3 of them have been hospitalized).
Experts are investigating the causes of the blast stating that it was probably caused by defective equipment. The apartment building has been evacuated. The residents are currently accommodated in a local school.
The explosion occurred during the first days of the quarantine measures implementation in the wider Moscow region to tackle the coronavirus pandemic outburst. In order to reduce the spread of the disease, people are required to stay in their homes.
Similar blasts are not unusual in Russia since many buildings constructed in the past have poor safety measures regarding gas equipment. In January 2019, an apartment building in the city of Magnitogorsk collapsed after a gas blast. Out of the 100 apartments of the structure, 48 were destroyed while 39 people were reported dead. 2 years earlier, at least 2 people were reported dead and 8 more were injured after another blast occurred in a building located in Volgograd (former Stalingrad).
Click the video below to watch footage from the scene caught on camera.