Seven hurt in Rio de Janeiro explosion

RIO DE JANEIRO: A powerful explosion suspected to be caused by illegally stockpiled gas canisters ripped through a Rio de Janeiro neighbourhood on Monday, injuring at least seven people and destroying homes and businesses. Footage on Globo television from the Sao Cristovao area of northern Rio, in a neighbourhood near the giant Maracana stadium, showed firefighters dousing flames and clawing through piles of twisted metal and rubble searching for survivors. Firefighters told AFP that seven people had been injured, and all but one were rushed to the hospital. Authorities initially reported eight injured. “It was most likely caused by a gas explosion due to illegally stockpiled gas canisters,” Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes told Globo. The canisters were stockpiled at a pizza restaurant, local media reported. More than 20 buildings, including two restaurants and a pharmacy, were destroyed, according to the report.