A gas explosion destroyed part of a residential building and left at least one person dead in an eastern Ukrainian city of Sumy late on Jan. 3.
Emergency crews arrived at the site shortly after the explosion that happened around 9 p.m. It blew out windows and damaged several floors at the 10-story apartment block – home to 432 residents. Two people were rescued from the debris while other two were hospitalized, according to the officials.
The accident may have been caused by a gas cooker, according to the emergency service. One of the injured, according to the authorities, is a middle-aged man who was registered with a local psychiatric hospital. It is suspected that the man caused the explosion when using a gas cooker in his apartment. The police are investigating the case.
In the meantime, some 101 residents were temporarily evacuated as a precaution.
Gas blasts in residential buildings are not rare in Ukraine. In 2016, gas explosions destroyed buildings in Lviv, leaving one person dead, in Kryvyi Rih, and in Novovolynsk in western Ukraine.
In 2014, an explosion caused by a gas leak rocked Mykolaiv apartment block, destroying the roof, windows and a number of floors, leaving two people killed and three injured.
One of the biggest gas blasts in the history of independent Ukraine hit a residential building in the city of Dnipro (former Dnipropetrovsk) in 2007, leaving 23 people dead and 20 injured and completely destroying one of the building’s four blocks. It took 303 trucks to remove debris with a total weight of 3,030 tons. Investigation showed that Dniprogaz, local gas distributor, didn’t pay attention to the residents’ calls before the accident. They were reporting the gas smell in the building, but officials didn’t react. The Dniprogas managers were arrested following the accident.