A strong explosion hit a well-known hotel in downtown Havana on Friday, tearing a gash several floors high into the side of the building and injuring at least one person, witnesses and Cuban state media said.
Photos from Granma, the Communist Party’s official daily, showed images of the multistory Hotel Saratoga with walls apparently blown out by the blast. It was not immediately clear what caused the explosion.
A Reuters witness saw smoke and flames coming from the building. Police and rescue workers flocked to the scene, cordoning off key points and buildings nearby, including the historic Capitolio building.
A photo from the scene showed what appeared to be at least one body on the scene with a white cloth over it.
The hotel was remodeled by a British company after the fall of the Soviet Union and was considered the place to go for visiting government officials and celebrities’ for many years. Recently, it had lost some of its shine with the opening of new hotels in Havana, but was still a five-star venue.
The hotel had been set for a post-pandemic re-opening in four days, according to its Facebook page.