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Five dead and children buried under rubble of house that collapsed after train derailed

Two tank cars derailed, hit electricity lines and exploded.

Image: Handout/Bulgarian Interior Ministry

FIVE PEOPLE WERE killed in northeastern Bulgaria following a gas explosion on a derailed tanker train early this morning, national radio reported. Officials said at least 23 people were injured, many with severe burns.

Nikolay Nikolov, who heads the country’s firefighting department, said at least 20 buildings in the village of Hitrino were destroyed when containers of gas exploded at 5:40am local time (3.40 GMT).

Two tank cars, carrying propane-butane and propylene, derailed at the station in Hitrino, hit electricity lines and exploded, police officials said.

Police added that the engine driver survived and has been questioned. Officials earlier had described the cargo as liquefied natural gas.

Video footage from the scene showed many houses in the village of 800 on fire and ambulances taking the injured to hospitals.

Bulgaria Train Exploision A municipality building after an explosion following a train derailment in the village of Hitrino. Source: Handout/Bulgarian Interior Ministry

Hitrino mayor Nuridin Basri told reporters that children had been buried under the rubble of a house that collapsed.

Prime Minister Boiko Borisov, who arrived at the site of the blast, urged citizens to donate blood to address shortages at nearby hospitals.

“There will be more casualties,” Borisov told reporters.

Bulgaria Train Exploision Firefighters work at the scene of a train derailment following an explosion in the village of Hitrino Source: Handout/Bulgarian Interior Ministry

He said several people suffered more than 90 percent burns and that damage from the explosion was extensive.

The train had been traveling from the Bulgarian Black Sea port city of Burgas to the Danubian city of Ruse.

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