russia gas explosion
© Виктория Смирнова
Emergency services in the Russian city of Noginsk raced to the scene of a colossal explosion at an apartment building in the early hours of Wednesday morning, with pictures and videos showing the devastation now emerging online.

Rescuers were called out after the explosion echoed through the streets at around 6.55am. They say it originated from a family apartment on the third floor of the building, and that as many as 30 other apartments had been damaged. Windows in neighboring houses were shattered, while shrapnel peppered cars parked outside.

Health officials in the city, located just outside the capital, Moscow, confirmed that at least thirteen people had been injured and that all victims had been hospitalized. Two victims are now understood to have died. Among those rescued from the building were two children aged between five and 11, who are understood to be in a stable condition and are receiving outpatient care.

However, emergency workers are now worried that people may still be trapped under the rubble and a team of more than 60 people has begun a search for additional survivors.

An unnamed local official told TASS, "The cause of the explosion is a gas leak. It could have happened due to the gas that was turned on at night to heat the apartment."

Gas explosions have claimed numerous lives in Russia in recent months. In July, another blast shook the Black Sea resort city of Gelendzhik, killing one person and injuring a further five. Earlier this year, an entire shopping center in the southern Russian city of Vladikavkaz was blown apart after oxygen cylinders stored in the basement detonated. As the incident happened overnight, the store was mostly empty and rescuers said no casualties were reported.

At the same time as news of the incident in Noginsk was breaking, rescuers were working at the site of another domestic gas explosion in the Ural city of Ekaterinburg, some 1,400km (870 miles) east of Moscow. One person was admitted to hospital in a serious condition with burns after the blast.