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Explosion in Hostel Kills One in Edinburgh

October 4, 1989

EDINBURGH, Scotland (AP) _ An explosion at a student hostel that may have been caused by a gas leak killed one person and seriously injured five others today, the Edinburgh Fire Brigade said.

Assistant Divisional Officer Graham Stevenson said rescuers were still searching for one person who was unaccounted for but faced difficult problems ″because of the high concentration of gas in the area.″

The inside of the five-story stone building in central Edinburgh collapsed in the 7:30 a.m. explosion, but the roof remained hanging, held on by the two adjoining buildings, he said.

Four people were taken to the hospital shortly after the explosion with serious injuries and the fifth was rescued 3 1/2 hours later, he said. The body of the unidentified victim was then removed, he said.

Deputy Fire Master Colin Cranston said rescuers were using their hands and heat-seeking cameras rather than heavy equipment for fear the roof and the exterior of the building would collapse on them.

He said the rescue effort was ″very risky″ and could take several hours.

Stevenson said ″there is a report of other people in the building,″ but when asked how many said ″we’ve no idea, really.″

Neighboring buildings were evacuated and the area sealed off by police. Passers-by were being warned not to light matches or smoke cigarettes which could ignite gas still in the air.

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