An apparent gas explosion has ripped through a multi-story building in the Belgian city of Antwerp, causing a part of the building to collapse and injuring as many as 20 people, officials say. Several people are still trapped under the rubble.
The incident happened just after 9:30 p.m. local time on Monday when emergency services were called to reports of an explosion in a 4-story building on Paardenmarkt, which is located in the downtown area. The blast caused both the building and an adjacent building to collapse.
The ground floor of the building is home to a pizzeria, but it was not immediately clear whether the pizzeria had also collapsed.
“The explosion on Paardenmarkt possibly involved three residences. There are multiple victims,” police said. A police spokesman said the number of victims was believed to be between 10 and 20, including 4 people who were pulled from the rubble and 3 people who are confirmed to be trapped.
“Emergency services are in contact with three people who are still located under the rubble. They are conscious. We are working fast in extremely dangerous conditions,” Antwerp Police said. The fire department added that the rubble was “extremely unstable.”
A large number of emergency services are at the scene and the city’s disaster plan has been activated. Antwerp Police emphasized in a tweet that there was no indication of a link to terrorism, and a local official said the building collapse may have been the result of a gas explosion.
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