Jilin blast kills at least three and injures 11

PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 December, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 30 December, 2002, 12:00am

A blast at a luxurious residential complex in Changchun city in Jilin has killed at least three people and injured 11, officials and state media said.

The explosion ripped through a number of apartments from the 11th to the 13th floors on Saturday afternoon.

The blast shattered windows of nearby buildings and shops and showered the busy street with glass and other debris.

Police confirmed at least three people had been killed and said 11 others were injured.

Newspaper reports carried on Xinhua's Web site said that the police suspected foul play.

A police officer said investigations were being carried out to establish the cause of the explosion but that no arrests had been made.

He said preliminary investigations seemed to indicate the blast was caused by a gas leak.

But police were not ruling out the possibility the pipe had been damaged intentionally, he said.

The area around the explosion was cordoned off yesterday while investigations were carried out.

A shop owner from the Beifang clothing market said the street was crowded with people at the time of the explosion.

But she said the atmosphere was calm yesterday, despite the chaos caused by the blast the previous day.

A doctor in the emergency unit of Lianyi Hospital said most of the injured had suffered minor wounds and were discharged.

Top priority has been given recently to safety and security issues as authorities struggle to maintain social stability.

A rising number of explosions and mass poisonings have been reported lately.

Authorities are particularly keen to maintain law and order in the run up to the Lunar New Year, which is a traditionally sensitive time.