Thursday, Aug 22, 2002
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By Vladimir Radyuhin
The explosion tore through a four-section building on Tuesday, causing one 40-flat section to collapse. Four survivors and eight bodies, including those of two small children, were pulled from the debris within hours of the blast. Rescue workers fear the toll may rise as over 10 persons are still listed missing. The blast left a gaping hole in the building, with broken concrete slabs dangling in the air.
The incident was eerily reminiscent of a series of apartment bombings in Moscow and other cities three years ago, which had been blamed on Chechen terrorists. This time investigators said a gas explosion was a likely cause of the incident, but they did not rule out that some explosives could have also been involved. Most Russian apartments use pipe-supplied natural gas for cooking, which often leaks and occasionally causes explosions of varying power.
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