Gas Leak Destroys Part of Hotel in Havana, Cuba; At Least Eight Dead

An explosion Friday morning apparently caused by a gas leak inside the Hotel Saratoga in Havana, Cuba has left at least eight dead.

According to CNN, the total number of deaths is not currently known beyond the eight being reported, but there are 30 who have been hospitalized. The New York Times adds that the office of Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel said the “preliminary investigations indicate that the explosion was caused by a gas leak.” The Times also reports that 13 people were declared missing. Videos and photos shared on social media show ambulances rushing to the scene and much of the facade of the Saratoga Hotel destroyed.

Video by shows several destroyed building facades and a crowd gathering around the wreckage:

According to Cultural Cuba, the hotel was closed for renovations and was scheduled to reopen next week. No guests were staying at the property but construction workers and staff were on site. "We are deeply saddened by this tragic news," the tour operator said. "We have had many guests in years past enjoy the beauty of this iconic hotel."

The hotel is located on the Paseo del Prado in Old Havana, in front of the Fuente de la India; it was built in 1880 for warehouses and was later remodeled as a hotel in 1933 and reopened in 2005. It’s blocks from the Cuban Capitol Building. The five-star boutique hotel has 96 rooms, three bars, two restaurants, a swimming pool and a business center, among other amenities.

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