SANTO DOMINGO – The death toll in the explosion at a plastics factory in the Dominican capital was raised to five on Thursday, when search teams located another body in the rubble of the building.
Wednesday’s blast at the Polyplas factory in the Villas Agricolas district of Santo Domingo also injured more than 70 people, five of whom are in critical condition.
It also caused varying damage to homes – and even destroyed some of them – located near the factory.
“We will respond to the 25 families ... who suffered the impact of the shock waves in the explosion,” presidential aide Iris Guaba said.
Several schools and two hospitals likewise suffered damage.
The search for bodies continues and Santo Domingo Mayor David Collado announced on Twitter that an emergency team from San Juan, Puerto Rico, “is on its way” to help local authorities in the aftermath of the blast.
Relatives of factory workers say that many of their loved ones remain unaccounted for.
Kelvin Garabito, the brother of Polyplas employee Maria Altagracia Garabito, told EFE that family members have gone to several hospitals but have not found her.
Maria Garabito appears in a video that circulated Thursday on social media and which she recorded amid the smoke inside the factory shortly before the explosion.
Emergency Operations Center official Edwin Olivares told EFE on Thursday that two of the bodies have not yet been identified because of their condition after the blast and fire, so they could be among the people listed as missing.
Santo Domingo fire chief Rafael del Rosario said Wednesday night that, according to preliminary information, the explosion occurred when a Polyplas boiler ignited propane gas that was leaking from a truck unloading the fuel inside the factory.