Police and fire officials in Goteburg, Sweden say an explosion in an apartment building early Tuesday injured at least 20 people, some of them seriously, and investigators have ruled out a natural cause for the blast.
Emergency officials say they were alerted to the blast just before 5 a.m. local time in the Annedal district in central Goteborg, Sweden’s second-largest city. Fires spread to several units, and crews from the local fire department were still fighting the fires as of mid-morning.
Residents reported being awakened by the blast that shook the entire building, which takes up most of one city block. Witnesses say smoke filled the hallways and stairways, making it difficult to exit the building. Police and fire crews rescued many people, and others climbed onto balconies. At least one person was said to have jumped from the building.
News reports say at least 16 people were taken to the hospital for treatment.
Investigators say the cause of the explosion is not known but a police spokesman told reporters a gas pipeline or other “natural” cause has been ruled out.
An official with the Goteburg rescue service told Swedish government broadcaster SVT the explosion appeared to have originated in the building’s inner courtyard, which had its entry gate blown away.
(Some information for this report comes from the Associated Press and Reuters.)