LIVE: Blast in central Prague injures 35, gas blamed

A massive blast rocked Divadelni Street very close to the National Theatre

LIVE: Blast in central Prague injures 35, gas blamed

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A massive blast rocked Divadelni Street in the center of the Czech capital, very close to the National Theatre. Prague rescue service chief Zdenek Schwarz said that as much as 35 people were injured by the explosion. Police sources say that 55 people sought medical attention and 220 persons were evacuated from the area, especially from nearby university buildings. According to unconfirmed reports, the blast killed three or four people. Rescue service spokeswoman Jirina Ernestova said that some people may still be trapped in the building.

The explosion took place in a building of the FAMU film school – state Czech Television reported that among the injured are six foreign students. The blast was probably caused by a gas leak. The public is not allowed to enter the site of the explosion – according to a Czech Press Agency reporter, natural gas can still be smelled there. The director of Prague’s fire service said that there is a threat of another blast.

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Prague’s Motol hospital has admitted eight more seriously injured people, six people were sent to Military University Hospital in the Stresovice neighborhood, and 12 people were treated by medics at the site of the explosion.

Prime Minister Petr Necas said he was working with the Interior Ministry and another public agencies to address the issue.

“According to my information, it is not a terrorist attack, a more likely cause is a gas explosion, which is being verified. We are still trying to find out whether there is somebody left under the debris. I was informed by rescue service chief Zdenek Schwarz that these are no more than three people,” said Prague Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda.

Employees of the Prazska Plynarenska gas utility checked Divadelni Street’s gas appliances one month ago and did not find any problems, said the company’s spokesman Miroslav Vranka.

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At around 3.15 PM (CET), Prague police closed the Divadelni Street area to public again, because natural gas was smelled in the air.

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More details to come.

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