Authorities said that a powerful explosion rocked a bustling market in a town near the capital of the Dominican Republic, killing at least four people and injuring more than 30 others.
The blast occurred at a bakery in the town of San Cristobal, which is located a short distance west of Santo Domingo. Authorities said the fire spread to a hardware store located next door and a nearby furniture store. It is not known at this time what caused the explosion.
Charred cars could be seen on the streets, debris from collapsed buildings, and thick smoke rising from the city’s center. Several businesses decided to evacuate, and many people came to take videos of the incident.
The explosion occurred in an area known as the Old Market, where crowds flock daily to buy various goods, from fruit to clothing.
The victims were a 4-month-old baby, who died due to a head injury, and three adults whose bodies had burns on 90 percent of their skin, according to a statement from Dr. Mario Lama, director of the National Health Service.
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He said several people were taken to a hospital in Santo Domingo, including patients with burns to 40 percent of their bodies.
Pura Casilla, governor of San Cristobal province, told SIN News Network that the explosion occurred in a commercial area and strongly affected businesses near the city’s center.
Firefighters were still battling the blaze on Monday night. Authorities ordered people to stay away from the area, warning that other buildings could collapse.
Government officials arrived at the scene, including legislator Franklin Rodriguez, who told the local press that he was concerned about people’s health and safety, given the thick smoke still rising from several buildings.