Aug. 5 (UPI) -- A gas explosion in a North Korean city across the China border may have injured dozens of people and killed several others, according to multiple South Korean news services.
The explosion occurred about 6:10 p.m. Monday in the city of Hyesan, South Korean news service Daily NK reported Wednesday.
The cause of the accident was likely a gas explosion that took place in a multi-family residential building in the Tapsong district of Hyesan. Homes built side by side, referred to as "harmonica housing," were destroyed in a chain reaction of explosions, a North Korea-based source told Daily NK on Tuesday.
"All possessions stored within the homes are gone," the source said.
Other reports suggest the explosion was caused by a gas leak in one of the homes. South Korean news service Seoul Pyongyang News reported Wednesday more than 10 people were killed and 30 others were seriously injured, quoting a source familiar with the city. Daily NK reported 15 deaths by Wednesday.
North Korean authorities did not take action in response to the mishap, and no fire trucks were dispatched to the site, according to Daily NK. Residents instead took matter into their own hands but took more than an hour to put out the fire, the report says.
Authorities blamed residents for "carelessness." They also inquired whether locals were able to save portraits of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il that typically hang inside North Korean homes. North Koreans have been banned from taking pictures of the incident on their camera phones, according to Daily NK.
South Korea has said it is aware of the situation.
Seoul unification ministry spokesman Yoh Sang-key said Wednesday at a regular press briefing the accident may be related to a gasoline or liquefied petroleum gas explosion, and that the government is investigating the incident, Newsis reported.