After a violent explosion in the center of the city of San Cristóbal in the Dominican Republic, the death toll has risen to 27. After the discovery of the last dead, no one is now considered missing, said the head of the civil protection agency COE, Juan Manuel Méndez, during a press conference. According to him, 59 people were injured.

The powerful explosion shook the area around a market hall in San Cristóbal, a suburb of the capital Santo Domingo, on Monday afternoon. A large-scale fire followed, which the fire brigade fought until late Tuesday. According to media reports, some of the bodies were completely burned. Pictures showed debris, badly damaged houses and charred cars.

Cause still unknown

The cause of the explosion was still unknown. According to reports from several media outlets, including the newspaper Diario Libre, investigators suspected that an accident had occurred in an illegal plastics recycling business. Other shops in the market had therefore been closed for a long time because a parking lot was to be built there.

President Luis Abinader declared national mourning for Thursday. He canceled a speech he was scheduled to give on Wednesday – the anniversary of the start of the Restoration War in 1863, a national holiday in the Dominican Republic. Abinader attended a church service in San Cristóbal on Wednesday.