Explosion damages hotel in Cuban capital; 4 deaths reported

A powerful explosion has badly damaged a hotel in the Cuban capital and officials report at least four people have died

HAVANA (AP) — A powerful explosion damaged a hotel in the Cuban capital on Friday and officials reported at least four people had died.

The blast at the Hotel Saratoga, a 19th century structure in Old Havana, apparently was due to a gas leak, according to the Twitter account of the office of President Miguel Díaz-Canel, who went to the site.

It said search and rescue efforts were underway for people possible trapped.

Photos published by government news media showed severe damage to the hotel, with clouds of dust billowing into the sky.

The website Cubadebate reported that a school next door had been evacuated.

The five-star, 96-room hotel in Old Havana has two bars, two restaurants and a rooftop pool, according to its website.