As firefighters combed through smoking debris on Tuesday, the death toll from a strong explosion close to the Dominican Republic’s capital increased to 10, according to authorities.
An explosion occurred on Monday at a busy commercial area in San Cristobal, a community just west of Santo Domingo, inflicting more than 50 injuries. Joel Santos, minister of the presidency, said that at least 36 of the injured were still being treated in hospitals.
An additional 11 people were reported missing, according to the local media. Health Minister Daniel Rivera claimed that due to the still-burning “ground zero” where the explosion took place, authorities have been unable to reach there.
According to the nation’s emergency telephone system, the explosion happened at a bakery in the city’s busy “Old Marketplace,” where shoppers can get everything from veggies to clothing.
The adjacent hardware store and a furniture business were later affected by the fire. According to police, the victims included a woman who worked at a bank and a 4-month-old baby who died from head trauma. One of his 15 employees, according to José Ramón Ramrez Rivera, the proprietor of a nearby veterinary clinic, is still missing.
I was crushed by an office wall,” he recalled. I was unable to breathe. On Tuesday, the city’s center was still completely covered in smoke, and Rivera asked everyone to use face masks.
He said, “This smoke contains chemicals.” According to Rivera, he and other officials will knock on doors to check if people have masks and see if they have any respiratory or skin issues.
He also plans to pay a visit to patients at a nearby hospital where family members are still missing. He added that injuries might include burns, fractures, and breathing issues, and that the first 24 hours were crucial.
President Luis Abinader was scheduled to visit the scene later on Tuesday, where firefighters were still battling the blaze amid crumbling structures and burned-out cars.
According to Santos, the government is looking into whether the company that experienced the explosion was functioning in accordance with the law. The explosion’s cause was unclear, and authorities haven’t given a rough estimate of the damage.
At a news conference, Santos said: “Unfortunately, these catastrophes have an order of priority: save lives, save assets, make sure the incident is put out, and then assess damage.”
Another explosion occurred in San Cristobal, the city where dictator Rafael Trujillo was born, over 23 years ago. In October 2000, an explosion at an ammunition storage facility resulted in at least two fatalities, more than twenty-four injuries, and the evacuation of thousands of people by the authorities.