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Last Updated: Sunday, 7 March, 2004, 12:06 GMT
'Gas blast' hits flats in Moscow
Flat after a presumed gas blast, in southern Moscow
The explosion is thought to have come from the fourth floor
An explosion reported to have been caused by a gas leak has damaged a 12-storey block of flats in southern Moscow, injuring at least two people.

The blast, which occurred at 0420 (0120 GMT) is thought to have come from a kitchen on the fourth floor, damaging all eight apartments on that level.

Emergency services evacuated people from the high-rise on Chertanovskaya Street to a fleet of buses.

The blast blew out windows and internal walls but did not spark a fire.

"There was smoke all over and boiling water pouring from pipes. The walls were destroyed, the windows were blown out," said an unharmed resident.

"My child (was) screaming in the next room."

Security has been increased across Russia amid fears of terrorist attacks in the run-up to the 14 March presidential election, which President Vladimir Putin is widely expected to win.



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