Source AP ©

Natural gas explosion in Ukraine takes 13 lives

At least 13 people died Sunday from a natural gas explosion that ripped through an apartment building in eastern Ukraine.

The blast destroyed much of the 10-story building in the industrial city of Dnipropetrovsk, about 600 kilometers (370 miles) from the capital, Kiev, ripping off parts of the roof and blowing out dozens of windows.

The blast was so powerful that its shock wave severely damaged several other multistory apartment buildings and smaller houses.

Several victims were found in the rubble overnight and Sunday, raising the death toll to at least 13, said Lyudmila Shcherban, a spokeswoman for the Emergency Situations Ministry. She said 24 people were hospitalized and others were still missing.

Natural gas explosions resulting from leaks in poorly maintained infrastructure or problems with canisters are common in the former Soviet Union, where gas is often used for heating and cooking.

The local gas company DnipropetrovskGorGaz said a sharp increase in gas pressure in the city system may have helped cause the blast, Interfax reported.

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