Two major gas explosions in Russia have left at least nine people dead including four children, according to local authorities. The first explosion happened on Saturday morning (November 19) at an apartment block on Sakhalin Island in Russia’s Far East.
A section of the five-storey building in the town of Tymovskoye collapsed after a gas cylinder exploded at around 5.30am. Sakhalin Governor Valery Limarenko wrote on Telegram that 33 people were known to have lived in the building, which was built in the 1980s, and some remained unaccounted for.
Limarenko added that rescue teams had been searching for more victims under the rubble and residents affected by the explosion had been offered temporary shelter. According to The Moscow Times, he later told the Rossia 24 television channel: "Nine people were killed, including four children.”
Another explosion erupted in a gas pipeline just outside St. Petersburg, sparking a huge fire, on Saturday morning. Governor Alexander Drozdenjo said on Telegram: “There is no threat to the population and the spread of fire to residential areas.”
The governor added the exact cause of the blaze, which has emerged in videos on social media, was still being investigated. No suggestion of sabotage or the country’s ongoing war with Ukraine was mentioned.
Russian media outlet RIA reported that the Ministry of Emergency Situations said the explosion was likely down to “depressurisation” in the pipeline, which was reduced to stop the fire.