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Blast Tears Through Kansas Building

July 25, 2000

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) _ A natural gas explosion tore through a downtown apartment building Tuesday, engulfing the building in fire and cutting electricity to a large part of the area.

There were no immediate reports of injuries, but authorities were unable to enter the brick structure to search for possible victims.

Smoke was visible for several miles around Manhattan as the building continued to burn at least two hours after the explosion.

``It was a big explosion, and it shook my bed, and jumped my bed up,″ said Doris Shorter, who lives in a neighboring building. ``I looked and I saw the whole building just coming down on the cars. It smashed them like pancakes.″

Riley County authorities received a call just before 2:30 p.m. that the building was ablaze. Its front had collapsed and the structure was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived, police said.

Manhattan is in the northeast part of the state, about 60 miles west of Topeka.

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