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Gas blast kills guard, injures 3 in Songjiang

A SECURITY guard was killed and three residents injured in a gas explosion in an apartment in Shanghai's Songjiang District early yesterday.

The blast may have been triggered when the guard rang a doorbell at a building where a resident had reported the strong smell of gas.

The dead guard was identified as Lu Guiming, 39, who leaves behind a wife and a 10-year-old child. The injured were hospitalized in stable condition last night.

Police said the blast was the result of a natural-gas leak, but the exact cause remained under investigation.

More than 70 families were evacuated after the explosion at building 104 on Guyang Road N. Scores of apartments sustained damage to doors, windows and furniture in four buildings.

A resident of building 104 smelled gas as he was passing room 102 on his way to work around 6 am and reported the apparent leak to Lu. The room erupted after Lu arrived to investigate.

The blast killed the guard, destroyed the apartment, blew out several walls and tossed a sofa outside. The shock wave shattered almost every window in the building and rocked families hundreds of meters away.

Song Jinlong, another security guard on duty yesterday morning, said the blast was probably triggered when Lu rang the doorbell to gain access to the building. The guards do not have keys to a new security door that had been installed at the building's entrance, he said.

Song described Lu as a responsible and warmhearted security guard who always responded immediately whenever someone needed help.

"He didn't even finish breakfast today," Song said.

Zhu Li, who lives in room 102 and was asleep when the gas erupted, suffered burns to his face, head and hands, covering 5 percent of his body. Zhu was sent to the Songjiang No. 1 People's Hospital and later transferred to the burn unit at Ruijin Hospital.

"When I arrived at the hospital, I saw my son sitting on a chair in the lobby, and he was having difficulty breathing," said Zhu Jianming, the victim's father. "There's nothing left. Zhu Li lost all his property in the accident." Two residents living in room 202 and 402 were also injured, though not seriously, and were sent to the Songjiang hospital.

Repair work began yesterday to damaged windows and walls in the apartment complex, and many residents were able to return to their homes by the afternoon.

But the building where the explosion occurred has been evacuated and will not reopen soon.

Gas and electricity have been cut off for investigation and repairs.

Displaced residents were provided free hotel rooms and meals by the community.


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