Five Dead, 13 Injured in Rio Gas Explosion


A gas explosion ripped through an apartment complex north of Rio de Janeiro early Tuesday, killing five people and injuring 13, firefighters said.

Civil defense officials said the explosion occurred at 5:00 am local time (0800 GMT) and may have resulted from a leak in a gas line.

Residents reportedly complained of a gas smell for more than a year.

Images on Globo News television showed a blown manhole cover in the sidewalk outside the building, and shattered glass.

The injured were rushed to area hospitals.

The building where the explosion occurred is in Fazenda Botafogo, a complex of 86 apartment buildings housing some 17,000 people near a main access road leading to the center of Rio.

The state gas company CEG said it was too soon to say what caused the explosion.

"We are going to look into the complaints of residents, who said there have been odors of gas for more than a year," said Cristiane Delart, a CEG spokeswoman, told the G1 news website.

Delart said company technicians had carried out inspections in response to the complaints but had found no problems.

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