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The death toll in a gas explosion in an apartment building in a Moscow suburb rose to four today as rescuers pulled another body from the rubble.

The blast, which occurred while work was being completed on the ceiling of an apartment in the building, ripped through a dilapidated three-storey apartment building in the town of Pavlovskaya Sloboda outside Moscow on March 27, causing it to partially collapse.

Russian television showed rescue workers searching for survivors in the grey building as smoke billowed out of its blown out windows.

Fatal gas explosions are a common occurrence in Russia, and are often linked to ageing infrastructure and poor enforcement of safety rules.

compiled from agency reports