4 people killed, 4 missing in gas blast in Poland

4 people killed, 4 missing in gas blast in Poland

WARSAW-The Associated Press
4 people killed, 4 missing in gas blast in Poland

Rescuers recovered four bodies from the debris of a house destroyed by a gas explosion in southern Poland and were searching in sub-freezing temperatures for four people still missing, officials said on Dec. 5.

Silesia provincial Gov. Jaroslaw Wieczorek one of the bodies recovered was of a child, as some 100 rescuers continued to comb by hand through the debris in search of the missing.

The explosion occurred in the southern mountain resort of Szczyrk, leading to a fire.

"The rescue action is being carried out in very difficult conditions, in hostile weather and in smoke from the debris," Wieczorek said. "Most of the work is being done by hand in order not to destabilize anything or hurt anyone."

Witnesses said the blast could be heard hundreds of meters (yards) away, as it shattered window panes in neighboring houses.

Firefighters said earlier that nine members of two families lived in the three-story house. One person was not at home at the time of the explosion on Dec. 4 evening.

The head of regional firefighters, Jacek Kleszczewski, said about half of the debris had been checked and the rescue was focusing on cutting through the collapsed ceiling structures.

A gas leak was a suspected cause of the explosion. Prosecutors and police were on site and investigating.

Footage on broadcaster TVN24 showed firefighters and rescuers working through a huge heap of bricks that remained of the house.

A spokesman for Poland's gas company said gas services for a large part of the town were cut off after the blast for security reasons.