At least four people were killed on Monday after a gas explosion party destroyed a high-rise residential building in the Russian city of Magnitogorsk, 1,400 kilometers (870 miles) southeast of Moscow. Another four people, including two children, were hospitalized, officials said.
A further 10 people were pulled from the rubble of a collapsed section, and 16 others, including seven children, were evacuated from nearby parts of the building without injuries. Officials warned that two more sections of the Soviet-era block were in danger of collapsing.
The mayor of Magnitogorsk told the state-run TASS news agency that 38 people were missing, adding that it was not clear if they were in the building at the time of the collapse.
The explosion shattered windows of nearby buildings, according to a local resident speaking on Echo of Moscow radio.
Local television footage showed rescuers combing through mangled heaps of concrete and metal in temperatures of -18 Celsius (-0.4 Fahrenheit).
Temperatures in the industrial city were expected to reach -23 Celsius on New Year's night.
Russian President Vladimir Putin traveled to Magnitogorsk after being notified of the tragedy.
Gas explosions in Russian homes are fairly common, most of which are blamed on neglect of safety rules or poor maintenance.
kw/kms (AP, AFP, dpa)
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