MOSCOW, February 27 (Itar-Tass) —— Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered a thorough investigation into the household gas explosion in the southern city of Astrakhan on Monday, February 26.
During a videoconference, Putin asked Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu whether the explosion was caused by a gas cylinder or pipeline gas. The minister said it was most likely was latter.
Putin then asked Astrakhan Region Governor Alexander Zhilkin who was controlling the operation of gas pipelines and was told that this was the duty of the city’s utility services and Gazservis.
“Officials who are responsible for overseeing the operation of such gas equipment should be suspended form office until the end of the investigation,” the prime minister said.
He also instructed Shoigu to oversee the search and rescue operation at the scene of the accident.
The explosion occurred in a six-section nine-storey apartment house. As a result, one of the sections collapsed completely.
According to the Emergencies Ministry, 12 people were injured, seven of them were hospitalised, including two children, and 14 are missing.