Explosion at Argentina apartment building kills 12 (VIDEO)



A firefighter hands water to a survivor after an explosion at a downtown Rosario, Argentina, apartment building on Aug. 6, 2013.



A natural gas explosion on Tuesday at an apartment building in Rosario, Argentina, killed at least 12 people and injured more than 60 others.

Municipal Health Secretary Leonardo Caruana said two of the dead were a young man and woman and that three of the injured are in critical condition. No other information about the victims was released.

The explosion appeared to be caused by a gas leak, leading Litoral Gas company to cut off gas flow to most of downtown Rosario during rescue efforts.

The blast was so violent it forced authorities to evacuate much of downtown Rosario, the country's third largest city, the Associated Press reported.

It took hours to extinguish the fire.

At least 15 people were still missing early Wednesday, according to the BBC.

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"I was in the bath when the explosion took place and the ceiling fell over my head. I have lost everything," said Evangelina, a fifth-floor resident of the building.

"Two weekends ago, someone tried to rob the gas meter. A gas engineer was due to come to fix it today, so we were informed the gas was going to be cut off between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.

"The huge explosion which destroyed one of the sides of the building happened at 9:45 a.m."

Other buildings for blocks around the apartment complex were damaged in the blast and a collapse was feared. Police closed schools and other buildings in a five-block radius.

Firefighters and other emergency workers put out a fire on site earlier on Tuesday afternoon. They also worked from above and below to pull survivors stuck in the building to safety.

An inquiry into the cause of the explosion has been launched.

Investigator Juan Curto said a man working at the scene of the blast before it took place was taken into custody.