Suzhou gas explosion flattens office, leaving at least 11 dead

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 June, 2013, 3:24am

At least 11 people were killed and nine others injured in a blast triggered by a gas leak that toppled a three-storey building in Suzhou, Jiangsu, yesterday.

Xinhua reported that the explosion occurred at 7.26am in a staff canteen on the ground floor of an office building affiliated with a gas supply company, citing the city government. The plant is at the heart of an industrial hub in the Yangtze River Delta.

Dozens of police officers, firefighters and medical workers were sent to the scene. The bodies of the dead were pulled from the rubble, while the survivors were rushed to hospitals.

A crowd of people, mostly staff of the gas company, gathered at the scene during the rescue. A middle-aged woman was seen weeping, and the online version of China News Service quoted a person beside her as saying that two of her relatives were among those trapped in the rubble. The rescue work and recovery of the bodies was finished by 5.45pm.

The Suzhou city government said last night that the nine survivors were receiving treatment at two local hospitals and their injuries were not considered to be life-threatening.

Gas production was not affected by the blast and fuel supplies to nearby residents were maintained, the report said.

A preliminary investigation report said merely that a gas leak caused the deadly explosion.