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At least three people, including a 4-month-old child, have been killed in the Dominican Republic following an explosion in a city near one of the country’s busiest airports, reports say.
The blast at a bakery in San Cristobal, just west of Santo Domingo, on Monday left 39 people injured as crowds tried to flee the chaos.
“Sorry about what happened in San Cristóbal,” Dominican Republic President Luis Abinader wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“From the first moment we are attending to the victims and their families,” he added. “In coordination with the local authorities we will work on the total recovery of the area.”
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Firefighters work next to destroyed vehicles after a powerful explosion in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, on Monday, Aug 14, 2023. (Jolivel Brito/Free Daily via AP)
It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the afternoon explosion, which officials said sparked a fire that spread from the bakery to a hardware store next door and a nearby furniture store. The area where it happened is known as “Old Marketplace,” where throngs of people shop daily for goods ranging from fruits to clothes.
The victims were a 4-month-old baby who died from a head injury and two adults whose bodies were 90% burned, according to a statement from Dr. Mario Lama, director of the National Health Service. A local bank confirmed one of its female employees died in the explosion.
Images taken in the wake of the explosion showed firefighters spraying water over piles of rubble and clouds of dust and smoke.
Charred vehicles also were seen lined up on a street where the blast occurred.
“Our main objective here has been to safeguard the greatest number of human lives,” Joel Santos, minister of the presidency, said Monday during a press conference.
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The Monday afternoon explosion killed at least three people and injured more than 30 others, authorities said. (Jolivel Brito/Diario Libre via AP)
The death toll is feared to increase and authorities have ordered people out of the area over concerns that other buildings could collapse, according to The Associated Press.
“These buildings are very weak,” the news agency quoted legislator Franklin Rodríguez as saying.
Eddy Montás, a local representative, reportedly told Noticias SIN that he saw a couple of bodies in the area in addition to the three deaths that authorities already have announced.
The explosion damaged numerous vehicles in San Cristobal. (Jolivel Brito/Diario Libre via AP)
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“We are saddened by what happened today,” he said Monday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Greg Norman is a reporter at Fox News Digital.