14 injured in suspected gas explosion in Belgium’s Antwerp

BRUSSELS: Fourteen people were taken to the hospital, including one in critical condition, after an explosion collapsed or severely damaged buildings in Belgium’s port city of Antwerp, said police, who ruled out terrorism as a cause. Firefighters rescue a man following the collapse of a building at the Paardenmarkt in Antwerp, after an explosion. (DIRK WAEM/BELGA/AFP) Belgium’s French-language broadcaster RTBF reported that a gas leak was suspected as the cause of the blast at around 9.30pm (2030 GMT) Monday (Jan 15), though it had yet to be confirmed. Police said in a statement that 14 people were taken to hospitals, including one in critical condition and five in a serious condition. They said emergency services pulled several people from the debris of the buildings in the Paardenmarkt area of central Antwerp, a Dutch-speaking northern city, but could not rule out finding others as searches continued. Police said the explosion was not related to terrorism, while Belgium has been on a high state of alert since 16 people were killed in suicide bombings in the capital Brussels in March 2016. Several buildings either collapsed or were badly damaged in the blast, police said. Source AFP


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