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 10:21 AM EST, Thu November 27, 2014
The first human trial of an experimental Ebola vaccine has produced promising results, U.S. scientists said.
updated 9:15 AM EST, Thu November 27, 2014
Darren Wilson, the police officer who fatally shot unarmed black teen in August abandoned home after address made public.
updated 5:36 PM EST, Tue November 25, 2014
HBO -- backing a documentary based on "Going Clear," a book about Scientology and Hollywood -- isn't taking any chances with legal side.
updated 2:35 PM EST, Wed November 26, 2014
Grandmaster Nguyen Van Chieu has devoted his adult life to spreading the word about Vietnames martial art, Vovinam.
updated 6:36 AM EST, Thu November 27, 2014
England cricketer Nick Compton shares insight into "drive and courage" it takes to face fears as top batsman.
updated 7:59 PM EST, Wed November 26, 2014
Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson says he was just doing his "job right" when he shot and killed black teenager Michael Brown.
updated 8:18 PM EST, Sun November 23, 2014
The interior of the Formosa Boulevard Mass Rapid Transit Station in Kaohsiung, in southern Taiwan.
Stunning stations where your first priority won't be finding the nearest exit.
updated 6:18 PM EST, Tue November 25, 2014
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says women's "nature is different," sparking fury.
updated 5:43 AM EST, Mon November 24, 2014
A 30-year-old woman has been charged with attempting to kill a baby police say spent five days down a drain before being discovered by cyclists.
updated 8:21 PM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
If it wasn't for a comic's skit, Bill Cosby would still be America's favorite father, says expert.
updated 7:51 PM EST, Sun November 23, 2014
Where do hip young things hang out in Taiwan?
updated 10:50 AM EST, Fri November 21, 2014
Obama orders the most sweeping overhaul of U.S. immigration in decades, prioritizing the deportation of "felons, not families."
updated 4:06 PM EST, Tue November 18, 2014
Fighters loyal to ISIS are now in control of Derna, a city on Libya's Mediterranean coast.
updated 6:19 PM EST, Fri November 21, 2014
China and likely other countries have the capacity to shut down the U.S. power grid, says the NSA.
updated 2:45 PM EST, Wed November 19, 2014
The founder of a U.S. nonprofit that works with returning soldiers is named CNN's Hero of the Year.
updated 12:03 PM EST, Thu November 27, 2014
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