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    Death toll in Ukraine gas blast reaches 21

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    The death toll following Saturday's household gas explosion in Dnepropetrovsk, in south-central Ukraine, has risen to 21, including seven children, an emergencies ministry spokesman said on Friday.

    KIEV, October 19 (RIA Novosti) - The death toll following Saturday's household gas explosion in Dnepropetrovsk, in south-central Ukraine, has risen to 21, including seven children, an emergencies ministry spokesman said on Friday.

    The source said rescuers had extracted another three bodies from under the debris last night, with four residents still missing.

    The blast, which occurred on October 13 in a nine-story apartment block in Ukraine's third-largest city, caused a section of the building to collapse, and also damaged ten neighboring buildings.

    So far 19 bodies have been identified, and 17 people, including three children, have been hospitalized.

    Despite the very real possibility of the building's total collapse, some 300 rescuers are currently working at the scene.

    According to preliminary reports, the explosion occurred due to a sharp rise in pressure in the gas supply. The Ukrainian Security Service has ruled out terrorism.

    Former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko has blamed the city's gas supply company Dneprogaz, owned by Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, for the explosion.

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