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Rescuers to check if surviving sections of gas blast-damaged house could be used for living

February 28, 2012, 2:37 UTC+3

The equipment is expected to reach the destination by four in the morning

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MOSCOW, February 28 (Itar-Tass) —— Specialists will use special equipment to check surviving sections of the residential house that was partially destroyed by a household gas explosion in the Russian southern city of Astrakhan, a spokesman for the Russian emergencies ministry told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.

“A special mobile complex Struna was sent from Rostov-on-Don to Astrakhan to check the building. Specialists will say whether its surviving sections are stable enough for residents to live in,” the spokesman said.

The equipment is expected to reach the destination by four in the morning.

Earlier, governor of the Astrakhan region Alexander Zhilkin said that local authorities will be able to provide accommodations for dwellers of the damaged house in newly commissioned houses. But first, in his words, specialists must say whether the damaged building may be further used.

Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov said that all possible options are being considered. “The worst scenario is to provide accommodations to all dwellers of the damaged house, the best one – is to provide new accommodations only to those who lived in 54 apartments. But people lost all they had and need help, and we are considering it,” he said.

Household gas exploded in the second section of a six-section nine-storey apartment house on Monday. The section collapsed completely. Several apartments in the third section have been damaged.

A criminal case was opened on charges of violating safety rules.

Rescuers have found two dead bodies under the debris. The dead are now being identified. The fate of eight more people are still unknown.

Rescue operation involves 700 people who are clearing the debris manually. Specialists with dogs are also taking part. The operation is led by Russian Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu.

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