Apartment building explosion kills 1, hurts 2 in Groningen town

Explosion wipes out the top floor of a retirement home in Veendam, 19 Apr 2017
Explosion wipes out the top floor of a retirement home in Veendam, 19 Apr 2017. (Photo: @Gedeekens / Twitter)

Update 9:55 a.m.: Veiligheidsregio Groningen denied reports that the building involved in the explosion is a retirement home. According to the safety office, it is an apartment building. 

One person was killed and two others sustained minor injuries in an explosion that wiped out an entire floor of a retirement apartment building in Veendam on Wednesday morning, local safety office Veiligheidsregio Groningen said on Twitter. 

A spokesperson for the safety office told NU.nl that the police are working on identifying the victim. The two injured people received treatment at the scene and did not have to go to the hospital.

The retirement home is located on the corner of Julianalaan and Prins Bernhardlaan. Engineers and construction experts checked the four story building and propped it up to try and prevent a collapse. The top floor of the building is completely destroyed and the rest of the building is severely damaged. Rubble was thrown to the other side of the street in the explosion.

The fire brigade is at the scene with specialized equipment. The Groningen brigade is getting assistance from expert firefighting teams in other provinces on how to proceed safely.

The residents the apartment building were evacuated. About 20 people are being sheltered in the Sorghvliethal in Veendam. So far nothing can be said about the cause of the explosion. The gas supply to the building was shut down as a precaution.