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Myanmar blast kills, injures dozens

Soe Zeya Tun / Reuters

People walk at the scene of an explosion in Yangon early Dec. 29, 2011. Dozens of people were killed in a strong explosion that rocked eastern suburb of commercial city Yangon at about 2 a.m., witnesses and officials said.

YANGON — Dozens of people were killed and injured early Thursday in a large unexplained explosion and fire in Myanmar's commercial hub and former capital Yangon early Thursday, officials and witnesses said.

Myanmar police told Reuters that 17 people were confirmed dead, 80 were injured.

Residents in several areas of the city were woken by the 2 a.m. blast at a state-owned medical warehouse in the eastern township of Mingalar Taung Nyunt. The explosion caused neighboring houses, many of which were wooden, to collapse and burn, The Associated Press reported.

Fire was spread to a nearby shipyard and factories, Reuters said.

A security official at the scene said the dead included 10 men, including three firefighters, and five women, while at least 65 people were injured, including some 30 firemen.

"We are still trying to make the list. We are also trying to find out the cause of the explosion and the fire," he told AFP, the French news agency.

Soe Than Win / AFP - Getty Images

Myanmar rescue workers carry a dead body from a large unexplained explosion and fire in Yangon on Dec. 29, 2011. At least 15 people were killed and dozens more injured in an explosion and fire in Myanmar's commercial hub and former capital Yangon early on Thursday, officials and witnesses said.

Nyein Chan Naing / EPA

Rescue workers help an Buddhist monk after an explosion at a warehouse in Mingalar TaungNyunt township, Yangon, Myanmar, 29 December 2011. The loud explosions occurred early morning around 2:00 am at a warehouse killing at least 10 people.