Two girls and a woman were seriously injured in an explosion in a public toilet in the city center of Halle (Saale). The explosion happened around 6 p.m. in the toilets of a historic building on the market square, which includes a café and apartments, a police spokesman said. "The cause is currently still completely unclear." According to the current status of the investigation, a tragic accident is assumed, it was said late in the evening. There were therefore no indications of a possible gas accident.
The girls, aged 12 and 13, were taken to the hospital. The 51-year-old woman was initially thought to have minor injuries. However, according to the police late in the evening, she also suffered serious injuries and is also being treated in a clinic.
According to the police, the marketplace was cordoned off within a radius of 100 meters after the incident. Residents around the site of the explosion were evacuated.
There is damage to the building, a structural engineer is checking it, said the police spokesman. The amount of property damage cannot yet be quantified. Specialists from the Magdeburg police came to Halle to look for the cause of the explosion. After the investigations were completed, an acute risk situation could be ruled out. The extensive barriers were lifted around 10 p.m.
The affected building, which is located next to the Marktkirche, is a late Renaissance patrician house. It also houses the city marketing Halle (Saale) and is called Marktschlösschen.
The immediate location of the damage in the area of the toilet facility remains closed, as it was also said. The house itself can be entered again.