Page last updated at 09:39 GMT, Thursday, 28 January 2010

Building blast in Liege, Belgium, kills nine


The moment the apartment building collapsed

Nine people died when a block of flats collapsed in the city of Liege in eastern Belgium, officials say.

Rescue work has been suspended amid fears that neighbouring buildings could also collapse. Twenty-one people were injured, three of them seriously.

An explosion tore through the building at around 0200 (0100 GMT) on Wednesday, starting a fire. Then the five-storey building collapsed at around 0700.

Officials said the explosion was probably caused by a gas leak.

The blast blew out the windows of the city hall, 100m away, and spread dust throughout nearby streets.

It caused a fire that raged through the apartment block and billowed thick smoke.

Firemen evacuated the building and tried to douse the fire, but had to flee when the building fell down.

They returned to the rubble and pulled a 13-year-old girl out alive.

But as the search progressed they found several dead bodies. By Thursday morning the death toll had reached nine.

But then the search was interrupted because of fears that neighbouring buildings would collapse.

But rescue crews hoped to resume their search later.

One fireman said there could still be "a dozen people, even more" under the debris.

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