Two people were killed and at least 56 others were injured in two successive explosions at a gas station near Bucharest, Romania, on Saturday night, authorities said.
The blasts occurred at a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) station in the town of Crevedia, about 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) northwest of the Romanian capital. The first explosion triggered a fire that spread to two fuel tanks and a nearby house, while the second explosion injured several firefighters who were trying to contain the flames.
Among the injured were 39 firefighters, two police officers and two gendarmes, according to the Romanian Interior Ministry. The victims who died were a couple who lived near the station. The man suffered a heart attack and the woman succumbed to severe burns.
Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu said that at least four patients with critical injuries were likely to be transferred to hospitals in Italy and Belgium for specialized treatment. He also expressed his condolences to the families of the deceased and praised the emergency workers for their courage and professionalism.
The cause of the explosions is still under investigation, but authorities suspect that the station did not have proper authorization to operate. The head of the Romanian directorate for emergency situations, Raed Arafat, said that one LPG tank was still at risk of exploding and that the area remained dangerous.
President Klaus Iohannis called for a swift inquiry into the incident and urged the authorities to take urgent measures to prevent such tragedies from happening again. He said that secularism meant “the freedom to emancipate oneself through school” and that wearing abayas was “a religious gesture, aimed at testing the resistance of the republic toward the secular sanctuary that school must constitute.”