Gas blast at Mexico children’s hospital, dozens injured

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A huge gas explosion ripped through a children’s hospital in Mexico City, killing at least two people and injuring dozens, including 22 children, as the building partly collapsed. Duration: 01:00

Gas blast at Mexico children's hospital, dozens injured

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Gas blast at Mexico children’s hospital, four dead

by Leticia PINEDA

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ATTENTION – UPDATES death toll ///

MEXICO CITY, Jan 29, 2015 (AFP) – A gas tank truck blew up outside a children’s hospital in Mexico City on Thursday, killing at least four people and injuring dozens, including 22 children, as the building partly collapsed.

Rescuers with dogs searched the rubble of the Maternity and Children’s Hospital in the Cuajimalpa borough for people who were trapped following the blast, said civil protection chief Fausto Lugo.

“We never imagined that something like this could happen. I’m shocked,” said a 40-year-old anesthesiologist who arrived for his shift at 8:00 am, about an hour after the natural gas truck blew up outside the building. He declined to give his name.

Adrian Rubalcava, the president of the Cuajimalpa borough, reported that four babies and three adults had died, but city and federal officials put the death toll at four people so far.

Two men and a woman are among the dead. No more details were immediately available about the fourth victim.

Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said 58 people were transferred to other hospitals, many for cuts due to shattered glass. The Red Cross said nine babies were taken to three hospitals in the capital.

Around 40 percent of the hospital was destroyed after an apparent gas leak, officials said. The newborn emergency care area was among those hit, Rubalcava said.

– Truck driver detained –

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Adults with bloodied faces were rushed into ambulances. Relatives waited for news outside a security cordon and the smell of gas remained strong in the area.

“I’m waiting for information about my niece who gave birth yesterday (Wednesday),” said the woman’s aunt, Martha Catellanos Nunez. “We are desperate. We know nothing.”

Mancera told MVS Radio that the zone was evacuated “for safety because a lot of the people are babies in the crib area.” A fire was still going hours later but firefighters had it under control, he said.

The disaster happened when a gas tanker truck blew up outside the building at around 7:00 am, officials said.

Mancera said the explosion took place after workers were unable to control a pipe leak, but officials said the cause was still under investigation.

“The truck driver has been detained by police. He is injured and is being care for by rescuers, but he is stable,” a Mexico City public security official said on condition of anonymity.

– History of gas blasts –

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President Enrique Pena Nieto expressed his “sadness and solidarity” with the victims and their families and said soldiers were deployed to help the search for survivors.

Mexico has been hit by other gas explosion tragedies in recent years.

In February 2013, 37 people died in the headquarters of the state energy firm Pemex in Mexico City following a gas build-up in the skyscraper’s basement.

In May 2013, 25 people died when a gas tanker’s container came loose on a highway north of Mexico City, setting nearby homes and cars on fire.

Last year, three people died in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas when a gas leak caused an explosion in a shopping center.

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Tags : injured, Dozens, hospital, childrens, mexico, blast

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