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Arkhangelsk, Russia; 16 March 2004 (RFE/RL) -- An apparent natural-gas explosion destroyed part of an apartment building in the northern Russian city of Arkhangelsk last night, killing at least 15 people.
Officials say at least 50 others are believed to be trapped in the rubble of the nine-story building.
Emergency Situations Ministry spokesman Sergei Vlasov today said rescue workers have so far helped 23 people escape from the building, and are continuing the search for survivors.
Arkhangelsk Mayor Oleg Nilov said the blast appears to have been caused by a gas leak, but he did not rule out the possibility that the explosion was an attack.