Italy: Death Toll Climbs to 12 In Italy Gas Explosion

Posted by Cassie Nist - email

(CNN) -- The death toll climbed to at least 12 in a gas explosion from a cargo train Monday in western Italy, a civil protection agency official said Tuesday.

A child was among the dead, said Antonio Garufi, a local government official. The number of injured had risen to 36, with 16 in critical condition. Most of the injuries were burns. Two children were among the severely burned, said Guido Bertolaso, head of the Italian civil protection agency.

The train was carrying gas tanks when it derailed and exploded while passing through a station in the coastal town of Viareggio. The explosion happened about 11:45 p.m. (5:45 p.m. ET) Monday. The cargo train had nine tank-wagons full of gas, four of which turned over.

The train was traveling from La Spezia to Pisa, Garufi said. The station and a few nearby buildings caught fire and were evacuated, he added.

"The search and rescue operation are not over and will not be over before this evening," Bertolaso said.

Not all the victims have been identified, because burns have complicated the process, he added.

About 300 people have been displaced from the area around the explosion, which is not considered safe yet and remains off limits. Fire crews were working to secure the area and clearing up the rail tracks, Bertolaso said.

He did not estimate how long the operation would take. "If someone thinks that the danger phase is over, it is not so," he said.