Panama: explosion in building leaves 20 injured, 600 evacuated

PANAMA (HPD) — An explosion that occurred on Tuesday in a floor of a building in the center of the Panamanian capital left at least 20 injured, one of them seriously, reported firefighters and Civil Defense authorities, who evacuated some 600 people. infrastructure and other adjoining

All residents of the damaged building were evacuated and even other people from nearby buildings.

Emergency, security and fire departments inspected the building to determine if it was safe. The cause of the explosion has not been reported at the moment, however, in a press conference Major Angel Delgado, from the Fire Department, said that there is considerable damage inside the structure and that for security reasons the investigating personnel have not been able to access the point where it is indicated that it was the origin of the explosion.

He mentioned that preliminarily and according to previous experience it could be a gas leak, although he emphasized that no hypothesis is ruled out. The investigations are going to deepen “to determine if the cause was really gas or some other type of situation that has caused a shock wave of this magnitude like the one we had today (Tuesday) in the capital.”

Assistant prosecutor Julio Villarreal arrived at the scene, who stated that an ex officio investigation has been launched whose objective is to examine what caused the explosion and then determine responsibilities. He mentioned that the preliminary information that he has received is that it is a relatively new building whose occupancy permit was granted this year.

Regarding the person who was seriously injured, Villarreal said that it is a woman who has burns on 80% of her body.

He added that as part of the investigation, information is being collected on the construction of the building, the materials used, the gas pipes, and a whole series of technical information that will reveal what happened.

The explosion occurred in an apartment building located in a busy and high-rise area in the center of the Panamanian capital. “There are apartments that were totally destroyed,” said the director of the National Civil Protection System, Carlos Rumbo.

He added that the explosion affected nine buildings. Local media images showed broken glass windows and doors, as well as scattered glass and traces of smoke in several apartments in the building in which the explosion occurred and in other adjoining ones.

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