Three people died Sunday and nine were injured in a building collapse caused by a suspected gas leak in Italy's business capital Milan, the ANSA news agency reported.
Two university students were among the dead. The third fatality was a PR agent for a local theatre. Her two daughters and husband were injured and taken to hospital.
The blast took place around 8:45 am (0645 GMT) in the fashionable Navigli district, partly destroying a four-storey apartment bloc and leaving several families homeless, authorities said.
"[A] gas [leak] is certainly the cause, firemen are investigating," Marco Granelli, an alderman in Milan's local government, was quoted as saying.
Mayor Giuliano Pisapia spoke of a "terrible tragedy" and said the city would observe a day of mourning when victims will have their funerals. A date was not yet set.
Three police officers who rushed to the scene also needed medication after being hit with falling debris.