One killed, 11 injured in explosion at German housing block

Berlin (AFP) –


One person was killed and at least 11 were injured in an explosion Friday at a residential building in the German city of Blankenburg, authorities confirmed on Friday.

The mayor of Blankenburg Heiko Breithaupt told reporters at a press conference that 11 people had been injured, despite earlier police estimates putting the figure at around 25.

One of those was seriously hurt, while nine had escaped with light injuries and another had sustained heavier injuries, Breithaupt said.

The mayor added that the building was now a "scene of devastation".

Local police chief Frank Goetze said that the person killed had not yet been identified, but said the victim may be the owner of the apartment in which the explosion happened.

Police were also unable to say if the blast was deliberately set off or if it was an accident.

Goetze said the explosion was probably caused by gas canisters found at the scene.

Yet he added that it was unclear why the gas canisters were there, given that the building was supplied by a district heating system.

The explosion struck at around 9:00am (0800 GMT) at a five-storey building with 60 apartments, sending splinters flying up to 60 metres away.

Residents in the building have been evacuated, police said, with one family transferred to emergency accommodation.

Breithaupt said police were at the scene, and that investigations could continue "well into the night".