MONTEVIDEO – An explosion Tuesday in the offices of Uruguay’s Labor Ministry left as many as 20 people injured, some of them seriously, authorities said.
The injured “number between 10 and 20, some of them with delicate injuries and others with cuts due to the fact that the glass of almost all the windows and doors broke,” ministry official Luis Romero told Efe.
At the time of the blast, some 300 people were in the building.
Apparently, among the most seriously injured are two workers and an architect from the firm hired to renovate the building.
Authorities initially said that everything indicated that the explosion was caused by a gas cylinder, but now it is believed that it was due to the buildup of fumes released by a heavy glue used to lay carpets and sparks from soldering equipment, Romero said.
Meanwhile, fire chief Ricardo Riaño told Efe that the causes of the explosion “still are not completely clear.”
The ministry building, which is located near Montevideo’s financial zone and port, had most of the glass in its windows and doors blown out and suffered significant damage inside.
“It was a very powerful explosion that destroyed practically the entire lower floor of the building,” according to Romero, who was inside the ministry at the time of the blast.
Uruguay’s president, Jose Mujica, came to the site shortly after the explosion.
“Now, what is of the most concern is the health of the injured people,” the president said. EFE