Photo: Explosion in Rosario
Authorities said Friday that 13 people have now been confirmed dead in a gas explosion that demolished an apartment building in Rosario, Argentina’s third-largest city.
Rosario Mayor Monica Fein announced the new number of fatalities, all of them identified, and said the search goes on for eight people who are still missing.
“There is always hope, we are working carefully to access each of the areas in our search for the missing persons,” she told reporters.
Most of the 11 people injured in the blast “are recovering well” at various hospitals in Rosario, the mayor said.
A gas escape in the basement caused a powerful explosion Tuesday morning, which brought down the 10-story building and caused severe damage to another two in downtown Rosario.
The prosecutor investigating the explosion, Graciela Arguelles, said Friday that part of the responsibility lies with the utility company Litoral Gas for its “very limited and obsolete” inspections.
Litoral Gas, she told a Rosario television station, “in the first place did some very rudimentary work” and then made the situation worse by restoring gas service “when proper security conditions were not in place.”
“When an inspector goes and only ascertains that there is no loss of gas, that’s not enough. He has to see if the installation is authorized,” the prosecutor said.
The company technician working in the area prior to the blast is also a target of the investigation.
“When he began to have problems with the gas and couldn’t shut the main valves, I think he should have suspended the work,” Arguelles said.