Search for victims of Ukraine gas explosion ended

The death toll of the natural gas explosion a week ago in Ukraine reached 23. The rescuers pulled six more bodies from the ruins of an apartment building . Emergency officials said that the search for more victims was ended.

The Oct. 13 blast destroyed much of the 10-story apartment house in the industrial city of Dnipropetrovsk, about 600 kilometers (370 miles) southeast of Kiev.

Seven of the dead were children, said Lyudmila Shcherban, a spokeswoman for the Emergency Situations Ministry. She said emergency workers had finished the search for victims and begun cleaning up the site.

Prosecutors believe the blast occurred because pressure-regulation valves in gas pipes had worn out.

Two employees of the local gas operating company have been detained pending potential negligence charges.

Natural gas explosions resulting from improper usage, poor infrastructure or faulty butane and propane tanks are common in the former Soviet Union.