Skip to main content

35 hurt in gas explosion at Prague building, officials say

By Ivana Kottasova and Jason Hanna, CNN
updated 2:52 PM EDT, Mon April 29, 2013
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
updated 9:35 PM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
Three Americans detained in North Korea spoke out about their conditions and pleaded for U.S. help in interviews with CNN.
Hundreds of jihadis in Syria are from abroad -- which countries have the biggest problem?
updated 3:51 PM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
CNN attends a funeral where mourners keep their distance.
updated 5:13 AM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
Libyan militia members have apparently turned the abandoned U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, Libya, into a water park.
updated 4:53 PM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
Obama's remarks that he didn't yet have a strategy for ISIS in Syria is widely criticized.
updated 7:26 AM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
A few miles south of the town of Starobeshevo in eastern Ukraine, a group of men in uniform is slumped under a tree.
updated 9:25 PM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
Beijing says only candidates approved by a nominating committee can run for Hong Kong's chief executive, prompting criticism.
updated 4:23 AM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
He should be toddling around a playground. Instead, his tiny hands grip an AK-47.
updated 8:23 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Wilson Raj Perumal tells CNN how he rigged World Cup games: "I was giving orders to the coach."
updated 5:46 AM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
We asked you what you would like to know about Ebola. Experts answer some of your most common questions and concerns.
updated 8:21 AM EDT, Tue September 2, 2014
In a major breach of privacy, a hacker leaked a series of pictures allegedly showing Jennifer Lawrence and other female celebrities in the nude.
Instead of weaving garments sold in the West, children should be in school
According to the International Labour Organization, there are 168 million child laborers around the world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT