Skip to main content

35 hurt in gas explosion at Prague building, officials say

By Ivana Kottasova and Jason Hanna, CNN
April 29, 2013 -- Updated 1852 GMT (0252 HKT)
Police officers, paramedics and firefighters lead injured people away from the scene of a powerful gas explosion at a building in the historic center of Prague, Czech Republic, on Monday, April 29. The blast injured at least 35 people. Police officers, paramedics and firefighters lead injured people away from the scene of a powerful gas explosion at a building in the historic center of Prague, Czech Republic, on Monday, April 29. The blast injured at least 35 people.
HIDE CAPTION
Explosion at Prague school building
Explosion at Prague school building
Explosion at Prague school building
Explosion at Prague school building
Explosion at Prague school building
Explosion at Prague school building
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • "It was not a terrorist attack," mayor says
  • 30 people taken to hospitals, including one man with serious injuries, official says
  • Blast collapses first floor's ceiling; fire department searching for gas leaks
  • Buildings evacuated, including those used by a film and TV school and by Charles University

(CNN) -- A gas explosion ripped through a building containing offices and an art gallery in a historic district of central Prague on Monday morning, injuring 35 people and prompting evacuations of nearby buildings in the Czech capital, officials said.

More than 230 people were evacuated from the area, including from buildings used by schools including Charles University and the Academy of Performing Arts' film and TV school, known as FAMU, officials said.

"We can now confirm this was a gas explosion. It was not a terrorist attack," Prague Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda told reporters Monday.

The blast at 5 Divadelni Street, not far from the National Theatre and a block from the Vltava River, which cuts through the city, collapsed the first floor's ceiling, officials said. Windows in neighboring buildings were damaged.

Officials do not believe anyone is trapped in the rubble, though fire officials will remain at the site for a while longer "to be 100% sure nobody is in there," Svoboda said. People who initially were unaccounted for were later found with minor injuries, he said

Of the 35 people injured, 30 were taken to hospitals, including two people who suffered serious injuries, officials with the city's emergency services said.

The city's fire department, which is examining the area for possible gas leaks, said it would take two days to stabilize the site. Charles University canceled classes at an adjacent building for the rest of Monday.

A surveyor employed by the city told reporters Monday that the building might not need to be demolished and that the damage appears to be reparable.

Powerful gas explosion rocks Prague

Earlier, Czech news media gave conflicting reports of the building's location, with an outlet reporting at one point that the blast happened at a FAMU building.

FAMU dean Pavel Jech said that the blast happened near FAMU's main building, known as Lazansky Palace, which was evacuated.

"Nobody in FAMU has suffered any injuries," Jech said. "There will be no classes for the rest of the week at Lazansky Palace. Classes scheduled at other locations ... will continue as planned.

Marianna Zapotilova was in an office in a nearby building when the blast happened. The office's window was open, and the force of the blast "pushed me away from my computer," she said.

"There was a lot of dust" immediately after the explosion, Zapotilova said. "People in the area were injured, mainly by broken glass from the windows; they had their heads bandaged."

CNN's Sarah Balter contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1049 GMT (1849 HKT)
British PM David Cameron has had the narrowest of political escapes.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 0106 GMT (0906 HKT)
British journalist John Cantlie hadn't been seen in nearly two years. Now, he's the latest hostage to be paraded out by ISIS.
The burial leader. The hospital gatekeeper. The disease detective. All telling powerful, stories from West Africa.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 2303 GMT (0703 HKT)
Alibaba's IPO is unlike anything investors have ever seen and could threaten other online retailers. Maggie Lake reports.
September 20, 2014 -- Updated 0358 GMT (1158 HKT)
Indian PM Narendra Modi has said al Qaeda will fail if it seeks to spread its terror network into his country.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1201 GMT (2001 HKT)
Put yourself in the shoes (and sixth-century black robes) of ISIS' Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the mysterious boss of the terror group.
September 20, 2014 -- Updated 1444 GMT (2244 HKT)
 Tennis Player Li Na attends the WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party as guests enjoy Ciroc Vodka presented by Dubai Duty Free at Kensington Roof Gardens on June 19, 2014 in London,
Asia's first grand slam singles champion Li Na has called time on her 15-year tennis career.
Jenson Button has some of quickest reactions ever shown at an advanced sports lab.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1124 GMT (1924 HKT)
Creative companies with quirky ideas find new lending models advantageous.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1409 GMT (2209 HKT)
Even death couldn't part two skeletons excavated from a lost chapel in an English county, found with their fingers entwined.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1007 GMT (1807 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT