San Cristobal: Ten people have died after an explosion in a business district in the Dominican Republic, with 11 others still missing and dozens injured, President Luis Abinader said Tuesday.
The explosion on Monday shook the commercial area of San Cristobal, less than 30 kilometers from the capital Santo Domingo, sparking a fire that was still burning hours later, and a massive column of smoke.
Several vehicles were left scorched.
Abinader visited the site, sending condolences to the relatives of "the 10 people - men, women, and children - reported dead."
"We are doing all that is humanly possible... to investigate the situation of 11 missing. There are around 37 people hospitalized," he said.
Authorities said Monday that a four-month-old baby was among the dead.
The cause of the explosion has not been revealed, nor has its exact origin.
The blast affected several businesses in the area including a hardware store, a vet, and a plastics factory.
Pictures of the missing circulated on social media, while dozens of people searched for missing family members at nearby hospitals.
Some 500 firefighters and other rescue officials were sent to the scene, with search dogs being used to comb the debris.
"The windows of the house shook strongly and I thought there had been an earthquake," a witness told the Listin Diario newspaper.
Local media also reported that some of the wounded had suffered burns on up to 40 percent of their bodies.