DUSHANBE, December 8, Asia-Plus  -- Police are investigating a gas blast that occurred in one of housing estates of Dushanbe Friday afternoon. 

According to official data provided by the Ministry of Interior (MoI), seven persons were injured in the blast.  No deaths were reported, according to the source.   

Nazarboy Jangiyev, the chief of the MoI firefighting service, told Asia-Plus that they received information about the gas blast at 12:24.  “The cause of the blast is under investigation,” Jangiyev said, noting to that the main version is that the blast was caused by gas leak.  He said that according to the preliminary investigation, the blast had occurred in apartment # 19 on the third floor.      

Jangiyev said that seven persons, including four children, had been injured in the blast.  According to him, six of them sustained medium-severity injuries, while the 15-year-old Gulnora Abdulloyeva is in serious condition.  “She lived on the fourth floor, wile rescuers found her at the level of the second floor being squeezed between two concrete slabs,” the firefighting service chief said.   

Many of residents of the blast-affected residential building stayed overnight in a sports complex “Qasri Varzish” (Palace of Sports). 

According to some sources, six apartments were destroyed completely and more than 30 apartments were seriously damaged.  The building is practically not fit for living and its residents are now forced to take shelter in houses of their relatives.        

As it had been reported earlier, the explosion that occurred in one of apartments on the third floor of the residential building at 15 Mushfiqi Street at around 12:20 ruined part of the four-storey building.  The blast was so powerful that it blew out the windows of nearby buildings. 

It is to be noted that accidents involving gas happen quite often in Tajikistan, where ageing infrastructure needs renovation. 

Thus, six people, including a baby, were killed in two separate gas blasts in Tajikistan on November 8, 2007 alone.  

The first blast occurred in Dushanbe, killing two persons.  The other blast took place at a saw-mill in Sughd’s Spitamen district.  The Spitamen explosion killed four persons, including a baby. 

Tajik police authorities said that the blasts were caused by safety violations.