(CMR) At least 10 people died, and 37 others were injured in an explosion in the Dominican Republic on Monday. According to the office of President Luis Abinader, a further 11 people were missing following the blast, which occurred in San Cristobal, located just west of Sango Domingo.
The explosion reportedly occurred at a bakery in the city’s center, a bustling area known as “Old Marketplace,” where people buy goods ranging from vegetables to clothes. The fire then spread to a hardware store next door and a nearby furniture store.
“We’re doing everything humanly possible … to investigate the situation of the 11 missing. The search for survivors has been very difficult,” President Luis Abinader said, expressing concern about the situation.
Abinader ordered the mobilization of emergency services, including 20 ambulances and 14 firetrucks, to respond to the incident.
Health Minister Daniel Rivera told AP that emergency services have still not been able to access “ground zero” where the explosion occurred because it was still burning.
Estefani Alcántara said her family was shopping when the explosion occurred. Her uncle (42) is hospitalized with serious injuries and her aunt is still missing, AP reported.
“We don’t know if she’s dead or alive,” she said with tearful eyes as she waited outside a local hospital.
Among the victims was a 4-month-old baby who died from head trauma and a woman who worked at a bank, officials said.
José Ramón Ramírez Rivera, the owner of a local veterinary clinic, told reporters that one of his 15 employees is still missing.
Juan Jiménez, a farmer who lives several miles from where the explosion occurred, said he thought it was thunder at first, given the usual storms that occur in August. He is now waiting for information on his female cousin, a 31-year-old professor who remains missing.
Smoke still smothered the city’s center on Tuesday, and Rivera urged everyone to wear face masks as it is believed chemicals are mixed in the