Major Gas explosion Causes Four Storey Building Collapse in Sicily Killing 4, More Deaths Feared

A building collapsed after a pipe of natural gas running beneath it exploded killing 4 people in the Italian city of Sicily.

A four-story building collapsed in the Italian city of Sicily following a gas explosion on Saturday, December 11 night, killing 4 people. According to the Italian news agency ANSA, at least, 5 more people are feared to be dead after getting trapped in the rubble of the building. The incident took place in the southern town of Ravanusa near Agrigento when a natural gas pipe running under the said building exploded, setting the building ablaze.

Rescue teams and sniffer dogs were searching for survivors under the rubble, while two women were evacuated. A young couple expecting a baby is said to be among the missing. One of the saved women was an 80-year-old who sustained serious fractures during the collapse and was transported to the local hospital for treatment. The other woman was reportedly her relative, who was found after rescuers heard her mobile phone ringing underneath the rubble.

Scene after gas explosion in Sicily
Scene after gas explosion in Sicily Screen grab - via Reuters

4 deaths confirmed

The local unit of Italy's civil protection service noted that 4 deaths were confirmed in the incident so far. Television footage of the damage showed a huge mass of rubble at the place where the building stood once. The head of firefighters in the province of Agrigento, Giuseppe Merendino told the Rainews24 TV channel that the explosion happened because the gas probably found a cavity in which to accumulate.

'Two more buildings were damaged'

"This pocket of gas would then have found an accidental trigger: a car, an elevator, an electrical appliance," Merendino further explained. The rescue operation was going on, although more deaths were expected.

Scene after gas explosion in Sicily
Scene after gas explosion in Sicily Screen grab - Reuters

Ravanusa Mayor Carmello D'Angelo called locals for help in the rescue process in an appeal on Facebook following the explosion on Saturday night. "There has been a disaster," he said. The mayor further told Rainews24 that around 50 people have been displaced in the unfortunate incident and that two adjacent buildings were also damaged in the explosion. Identities of the deceased or missing were not revealed at the moment.