Death Toll Climbs to 10 Following Powerful Blast Close to Dominican Republic’s Capital; 11 Individuals Remain Unaccounted For

by Lucas Garcia

The casualty count resulting from a potent explosion near the capital city of the Dominican Republic surged to 10 individuals on Tuesday, accompanied by dozens sustaining injuries. Firefighters continued their search through the smoldering wreckage, while anguished relatives gathered outside hospitals in pursuit of their missing loved ones.

President Luis Abinader journeyed to San Cristobal, situated to the west of Santo Domingo, to meet with those impacted by the incident. He disclosed that an additional 11 individuals remained unaccounted for, while efforts to quell the blaze persisted amidst the ruins of collapsed structures and charred vehicles.

“We are expending every possible effort to investigate the circumstances surrounding the 11 missing individuals,” he asserted. “The quest to locate survivors has proven exceedingly challenging.”

The explosion that occurred on Monday within a bustling commercial hub in San Cristobal resulted in a death toll of at least 10 individuals, with more than 50 people sustaining injuries, according to Joel Santos, the minister of the presidency. Thirty-six of the injured were still receiving medical treatment in hospitals, Santos confirmed.

Daniel Rivera, the Health Minister, indicated that the explosion’s epicenter, which was still ablaze, remained inaccessible to authorities.

Estefani Alcántara shared her experience of the incident, recounting that her family was shopping when the explosion transpired. Her 42-year-old uncle sustained severe injuries and was hospitalized, while her aunt remained missing.

“We are uncertain whether she is alive or not,” she lamented, tears streaming down her face as she waited outside a local hospital, consumed by feelings of “frustration, pain, and distress.”

The nation’s emergency hotline reported that the explosion originated at a bakery in the heart of the city, a vibrant locality known as the “Old Marketplace,” catering to various goods including vegetables and clothing. The flames subsequently engulfed a neighboring hardware store and an adjacent furniture outlet.

Among the victims was a 4-month-old infant who succumbed to head injuries, as well as a bank employee, officials revealed.

José Ramón Ramírez Rivera, proprietor of a local veterinary clinic, recounted that one of his 15 employees was yet to be located.

“A wall from the office collapsed on me,” he recollected. “I struggled to breathe.”

Juan Jiménez, a farmer residing a few miles away from the blast site, initially mistook the explosion for thunder, given the prevalent storms in August. Now, he anxiously awaits news about his 31-year-old female cousin, a professor, who remains missing.

Smoke continued to blanket the city’s core on Tuesday, prompting Rivera to advise the populace to wear masks due to the toxic chemicals mingling with the smoke.

“This smoke contains chemical substances,” he cautioned.

Rivera revealed his intentions to personally distribute masks and evaluate individuals for respiratory or skin complications by visiting households door-to-door. He was also expected to visit a local hospital where people were still seeking their missing family members.

“The initial 24 hours are critical,” he stressed, noting that injuries encompassed burns, fractures, and respiratory issues.

President Abinader declared the establishment of two mobile hospitals to furnish additional medical care, including psychological support, to those affected.

Meanwhile, Minister Santos announced the initiation of an inquiry to ascertain whether the establishment where the explosion transpired adhered to appropriate regulations.

The cause of the explosion remained obscure, with authorities yet to furnish a preliminary assessment of the extent of the damage.

“These calamities possess a hierarchy: save lives, preserve assets, contain the incident, and subsequently assess the extent of harm,” Santos remarked during a press conference.

San Cristobal, renowned as the birthplace of dictator Rafael Trujillo, was the site of another explosion nearly 23 years ago. In October 2000, an armory explosion claimed the lives of at least two individuals and left over two dozen injured, compelling authorities to evacuate thousands.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Tragedy

What happened near the Dominican Republic’s capital?

A powerful explosion occurred near the Dominican Republic’s capital, resulting in the loss of 10 lives and numerous injuries.

How many people are missing?

As of now, 11 individuals are reported missing in the aftermath of the explosion.

What is the current situation?

Rescue efforts are ongoing as firefighters search through the rubble and injured individuals are being treated in hospitals.

Has the cause of the explosion been determined?

No, the cause of the explosion is still unclear, and authorities have not provided an initial estimate of the damage.

How is the government responding?

President Luis Abinader visited the affected area, promising support for those impacted. The government is setting up mobile hospitals to provide medical care and psychological support.

What were the primary injuries sustained?

Injuries from the explosion included burns, fractures, and respiratory issues, reflecting the variety of challenges faced by survivors.

Has this area experienced similar incidents in the past?

Yes, San Cristobal, where the explosion occurred, had a previous explosion nearly 23 years ago in 2000. An arms depot explosion caused casualties and evacuations.

What precautions are being taken due to the aftermath?

Authorities are advising people to wear face masks due to the toxic smoke containing chemicals. Health officials are conducting door-to-door visits to distribute masks and assess health conditions.

How are authorities addressing potential regulatory violations?

The government is launching an investigation to determine if the business where the explosion occurred was operating in compliance with regulations.

What is the President’s stance on the situation?

President Abinader expressed deep concern for those affected and assured that every possible effort is being made to locate missing individuals and provide necessary support.

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JaneSmith August 15, 2023 - 9:25 pm

tragic blast, ppl hurt. firefighters searching rubble. hope they find the missin ones.

FitnessFreak August 16, 2023 - 12:30 am

injuries vary – burns, fractures, breathing troubles. tough times for survivors.

ArtLover August 16, 2023 - 2:42 am

toxic smoke ☠️ gotta wear masks, stay safe y’all.

BookWorm August 16, 2023 - 3:29 am

dom. republic had an explosion before? history repeats, sadly.

AdventureSeeker August 16, 2023 - 3:08 pm

san cristobal – seen this before in movies. scary how real life echoes fiction.


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