Argentina searches for missing after building blast

Argentine authorities on Wednesday combed through the charred ruins of an apartment building destroyed by an explosion and fire that left at least 10 people dead. - PHOTO: REUTERS
Argentine authorities on Wednesday combed through the charred ruins of an apartment building destroyed by an explosion and fire that left at least 10 people dead. - PHOTO: REUTERS

ROSARIO, Argentina (AFP) - Argentine authorities on Wednesday combed through the charred ruins of an apartment building destroyed by an explosion and fire that left at least 10 people dead.

Another 62 people were injured and 13 are missing after Tuesday's thunderous blast caused by a gas leak in the building in Rosario, the country's third largest city, said Santa Fe province's health minister Miguel Cappiello.

Of the 26 injured people who are still hospitalised, three are in serious condition, including a boy aged three or four, he added.

The building housed 60 apartments, many inhabited by students or young people because the rent is cheap.

Rescue efforts went on through the night and continued on Wednesday.

Crews asked people to keep silent as they gingerly sifted through the remains of the building, listening for any sign of life.

A gas company worker named Carlos Garcia who was working in the building shortly before the blast has been taken into custody, his lawyer Hugo Bufarini said.

"He did not tell me what happened because he cannot talk as he is so upset and in a state of shock. But it seems he is the scapegoat," Mr Bufarini said.

He said Garcia has 20 years of experience working with gas.