Two hurt in Rotterdam gas leak explosion; Possibly intentional

Ambulance

Two people were wounded Friday morning in Rotterdam when a forceful explosion in a flat blew out the apartment’s facade. A gas leak led to the explosion on Vignolastraat, according to the regional emergency services office.

It was not immediately clear if the cause of the gas leak was intentional or accidental. Police were investigating for any criminality or negligence.

“Two people were injured. A person with burns, and a person with smoke inhalation. Both people were taken to hospital by ambulance workers,” the emergency office stated. One of those hurt was a resident of the apartment, the other was a neighbor.

A building resident told local broadcaster Rijnmond that the injured male resident was somewhat troubled. "I just ran into him in the stairwell, and then he said he wanted to kill himself. That he had turned on the gas tap," said Dani to the broadcaster. She said the look in his eyes suggested he was either on drugs or otherwise medicated.

The blast was first reported just before 8 a.m. The alarm was almost immediately upgraded to a medium-sized fire, with paramedics, a trauma team, police and firefighters all sent to tackle the incident.

“The house where the explosion took place was severely damaged. Surrounding homes have been evacuated,” the emergency office said.

Rika told Rijnmond she heard a big boom. "I thought something was thrown from the gallery, or someone struck the flat. But an explosion? No, it did not occur to me," she said. A brief period of panic by area residents was followed by a return to calm. Neighbors in other buildings were also providing assistance and shelter to those affected.

The fire was brought under control by 9:50 a.m. Building inspectors were carrying out checks on the homes affected by the explosion, the emergency office stated.

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