At least 25 people have been injured in an explosion in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Several residents have escaped and rescue efforts have been ongoing.
An explosion in an apartment building in the western German city of Wuppertal injured 25 people, at least five of them seriously, according to local emergency services.
Police say the blast rocked the multi-story apartment block shortly before midnight on Saturday with a large noise, scaring people in surrounding homes so much they ran out into the street in a panic.
Several small fires broke out inside the building and firefighters struggled to put out the flames because parts of the building kept collapsing.
Some residents managed to escape, but others became trapped and needed to be rescued by firefighters. A large number of rescuers worked to free people from the block.
‘Picture of devastation’
“The rescue efforts are ongoing,” police said. Specialist engineers were stabilizing the partially collapsed building to prevent it from completely falling.
Police described the scene as a “picture of devastation,” and photos showed piles of rubble around the building. The cause of the blast was not immediately clear.
An investigation was underway on Sunday morning.”How this came to pass and what the background is, that remains completely unclear,” a police spokesman said.
kp/rc (AP, AFP, dpa)