WARSAW, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- Eight people, including four children, have died during a serious gas explosion taking place Wednesday night in a residential building in the southwestern Polish town of Szczyrk, Polish authorities said on Thursday.
The building exploded at around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday evening and the rescue operation took place overnight, involving over 100 firefighters, one of whom got hurt.
On Thursday morning, Polish authorities said that the bodies of eight people, likely members of two families living in the destroyed building, were recovered. The last two bodies were recovered before midday on Thursday.
The prosecutor's office announced the start of an investigation into the tragedy and the bodies of the dead will undergo autopsy to clarify the causes of death.
According to a statement sent to media by the Polish state gas company Polska Spolka Gazownictwa (PSG) which is in charge of gas distribution, the most likely cause of the tragedy was damage to a medium pressure gas pipeline during works carried out by an external company, Aqua Works.
A spokesman for the PSG said they had received signs that there was a malfunction at the pipeline last night, but it was too late to switch off the gas. The PSG also claimed that they had not been informed of the works conducted by the private company. Aqua Works has not issued a public statement.
The building where the explosion took place is fully destroyed and gas delivery to the area has been temporarily suspended. Authorities said they have found all the bodies of people trapped inside the building at the time of the accident, so the number of fatalities is not expected to increase.