Search-and-rescue personnel work at the site of a massive explosion and fire that occurred on 14 August 2023 at a commercial center in the southern Dominican city of San Cristobal. The death toll rose on 16 August 2023 to 27. EFE/Orlando Barria

Dominican Republic blast death toll climbs to 27

Santo Domingo, Aug 16 (EFE).- The death toll from an explosion and subsequent fire this week in the southern Dominican city of San Cristobal has climbed to 27, that Caribbean nation’s emergency operations center (COE) said Wednesday.

Search-and-rescue personnel work at the site of a massive explosion and fire that occurred on 14 August 2023 at a commercial center in the southern Dominican city of San Cristobal. The death toll rose on 16 August 2023 to 27. EFE/Orlando Barria

It also indicated that no one currently remains missing.

A photo of several cars that were destroyed by a massive explosion and fire that occurred on 14 August 2023 at a commercial center in the southern Dominican city of San Cristobal. The death toll rose on 16 August 2023 to 27. EFE/Orlando Barria

The center said that in recent hours rescue teams located the remains of several people who died in Monday night’s explosion at a commercial center known as the Old Marketplace.

It also noted that some people hospitalized in serious condition succumbed to their injuries.

The process of identifying the remains, however, will take several days, COE Director Gen. Juan Manuel Mendez said at a press conference at the office of the governor of San Cristobal province.

DNA analysis must be conducted by the National Institute of Forensic Science because many of the severely charred remains would be unidentifiable otherwise, he added.

The COE director also said nine commercial establishments were affected by the explosion and fire and four others were completely destroyed.

Mendez provided that information after meeting to discuss next steps and aid distribution with President Luis Abinader and members of his administration and of other emergency management institutions.

Abinader, who on Wednesday toured the affected area and attended a Mass in San Cristobal to honor those killed and pray for the swift recovery of the injured, proclaimed a day of national mourning on Thursday.

Messages of condolences have been sent from the United States, the European Union, Cuba and Venezuela in the wake of the tragedy.

San Cristobal is a city of some 275,000 residents west of Santo Domingo. EFE

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