RIO DE JANEIRO: At least 11 people were killed or injured when an 18-storey building in the center of Rio de Janeiro partially collapsed after an explosion, Brazilian television reports said.
Globo News, citing civil defense officials, said there were "11 casualties -- dead and injured." Earlier, a fire department spokesman told AFP there were "at least two injured."
The building, which is located near the municipal theater on the city's Cinelandia square, collapsed after an explosion at about 8:40 pm (2340 GMT) that sparked panic in the area.
The zone is bustling by day, but nearly deserted at night.
A mountain of rubble filled the street near the building, while thick dust covered the cars nearby.
Dozens of firefighters and emergency personnel were at the scene, along with Rio's mayor Eduardo Paes.
A bank branch and a restaurant are located on the first floor of the collapsed building, but it was not immediately clear if the two businesses were open at the time of the incident.
Thirty people who had been in an adjacent building were evacuated safely, firefighters said. AGENCIES