Russia Building Collapse Toll Hits 19, Rumors Swirl Over Cause

At least 19 people, including two children, have been confirmed dead in the New Year’s Eve collapse of a Russian apartment building. An additional 25 people are still unaccounted for, and rescue workers continued to pull bodies out of the building in the southern Urals city of Magnitogorsk on Wednesday. Government authorities initially said the collapse of the 10-story building was likely caused by a natural-gas explosion. But after Russian media reports that traces of explosives were found at the site and it could have been a terrorist act, investigating officials said they are now looking at “all possible causes.” According to Radio Free Europe, local media were reporting a nearby minivan explosion late Jan. 1 may be tied to the investigation, with video footage appearing to indicate gunfire being exchanged after the blast in which three people died. Temperatures in the town have not risen above 7F (-14 C) since the disaster, and a baby found alive Tuesday under the rubble had suffered severe frostbite.