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22 killed, 74 injured in gasoline explosion at Cuban lodge

HAVANA, Cuba: Officials believe a gas explosion resulted in the deaths of 22 people, including one child, in Havana on May 6.

An additional 74 people have been hospitalized.

The explosion occurred during renovations at the historic Hotel Saratoga, a 19th century structure in Old Havana.

Cuban President Miguel Daz-Canel, who visited the site of the explosion, stated on his Twitter account that the explosion was caused by a gas leak.

The Cuban government said 74 people have been hospitalized, including 14 children.

Meanwhile, Havana Governor Reinaldo Garca Zapata said no tourists were lodged at the hotel when the explosion occurred.

The Cuban news agency ACN has since published photos showing severe damage to the Hotel Saratoga in Havana, with clouds of dust covering the sky.

Rescue work is continuing at the hotel to determine whether people remain trapped.

A student told NBC News that the explosion woke him.

“It was a large explosion. I felt it, I was asleep and it woke me,” he said.

Cuban news website Cubadebate has reported that people are being treated at nearby clinics. Also, a school next door has been evacuated.

The five-star Hotel Saratoga, a 96-room hotel in Old Havana, includes two bars, two restaurants and a rooftop pool, according to the hotel’s website.

Yazira de la Caridad, a mother of two, said the explosion shook her home one block from the hotel: “The whole building moved. I thought it was an earthquake,” she said. “I’ve still got my heart in my hand.”

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