An explosion near the festivities of Bolivia's famed Oruro Carnival has claimed the lives of at least half-a-dozen people and injured 28 others, on Saturday.
Four children, three girls and one boy, were among the dead. The injured were rushed to nearby medical facilities to be treated.
Foul play has been ruled out. Police say the blast was not deliberate but resulted from a gas-related mishap. “It was an accident,” a city of Oruru police commander, Romer Rana, disclosed.
"Product of oil spill from a pan that was handled by a food vendor caused an overheating of a hose that connected the decanter," the official explained.
"That, in turn, causes a gas leak that leads to an explosion of the decanter," he added.
The incident took place at about 6:45 p.m., one block from the comparsas – which is a group of singers, musicians and dancers participating in carnival activities.
President Evo Morales expressed that he was “very dismayed” after learning of the gas explosion near the Folkloric Entrance of the Carnival of Oruro.
"All our solidarity to the families of the victims, we will provide necessary help to the wounded, and the causes of the tragedy will be established," Morales posted to Twitter.
The Oruro Carnival is one of the largest in South America.