Explosion rips through Veendam flats, one person killed (update)

An explosion ripped through a low apartment complex in the Groningen town of Veendam just before 7am on Wednesday morning, killing one person and injuring at least two more.

The explosion destroyed a large part of the third and fourth floor of the building, which housed older people, the Telegraaf said. One elderly resident had to be brought to safety in a fire brigade lift, the paper said.

The cause of the blast is unclear although one neighbour told broadcaster NOS there had been a smell of gas in the street.

A fire brigade spokesman said a special team is now trying to establish if the rest of the building can be made safe.

On Twitter locals described an enormous explosion. Gernant Deekens told the NOS his entire house began to shake. ‘I stood in the bathroom and thought, this is not good,’ he said.

Deekens said the building is lived in but that he was not aware if anyone had been injured. ‘The street is full of debris,’ he said. ‘The windows of the building opposite have been broken and some roof tiles are missing.’