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12 die in building explosion in Argentina; authorities suspect gas leak

From Nelson Quionnes, CNN
updated 6:02 AM EDT, Wed August 7, 2013
  • Leaking gas is likely to blame, authorities say
  • A man working at the site in Rosario before the blast ignited is taken into custody
  • A swath of white smoke hangs over the city, located about 200 miles from Buenos Aires
  • Rescuers are searching for over a dozen missing people, local newspaper Clarin reports

(CNN) -- Leaking gas was likely to blame for an explosion that killed at least 12 people, injured 60 more and brought down part of a building in Argentina on Tuesday, state media reported Wednesday.

A man who was working at the scene in the city of Rosario before the blast ignited at 9:15 a.m. local time has been taken into custody, said the Telam news agency, which cited investigator Juan Curto.

The explosion gutted one multi-story residential building, and destroyed at least one other building next to it, while blowing out the windows of surrounding structures, images broadcast by CNN affiliate Canal 9 showed.

A swath of white smoke and dust dominated the skyline of the city, located about 200 miles northwest of the capital, Buenos Aires.

Firefighters swung extended ladders around to upper balconies and windows to rescue residents stranded on top floors.

Rubble and shards of glass filled the streets below, as fire engines arrived Tuesday to douse the blaze, and medical teams tended to bleeding victims.

Rescuers are still searching for over a dozen people who were in the residential building at the time of the blast, local newspaper Clarin reported.

CNN's Ben Brumfield wrote in Atlanta

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