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Explosion destroys iconic Havana hotel

Emergency crews arrive at the five-star Hotel Saratoga after an explosion in Old Havana, Cuba, on Friday. Associated Press/Photo by Ramon Espinosa

Explosion destroys iconic Havana hotel

Hotel Saratoga, located just 110 yards from Cuba’s National Capitol, has been a popular destination for celebrities and political figures since the 1930s. Late Friday morning, a massive blast blew out several floors, scattering debris blocks away. Authorities said they suspect a natural gas leak caused the accident.

How many are hurt? The presidency confirmed at least nine people died in the explosion and roughly 40 were hospitalized with injuries. Officials expect both numbers to rise as they comb through the rubble. An elementary school right next to the hotel was evacuated, and local media reported no children were hurt. Havana Gov. Reinaldo Garcia Zapata told the Communist newspaper Granma that no tourists were in the hotel because it was undergoing renovations. Cuba is attempting to revitalize tourist commerce after COVID-19 shutdowns.

Dig deeper: From the archives, read Jamie Dean’s WORLD Magazine report on pastors’ responses to the political and social unrest in Cuba.

Carolina Lumetta

Carolina is a reporter for WORLD Digital. She is a World Journalism Institute and Wheaton College graduate. She resides in Harrisburg, Pa.



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