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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Key Siberian Gas Main Springs Leak

A gas main ruptured and caught fire in Siberia, cutting heating fuel to three regions already caught in one of Siberia's iciest cold snaps of recent history, emergency officials said.

The gas pipe broke about 50 kilometers west of the city of Barabinsk in the Novosibirsk region, said Viktor Beltsov, a spokesman for the Emergency Situations Ministry. The line served the Kemerovo, Novosibirsk and Altai regions and did not have a backup, but some gas was still filtering through the system to supply residential heat in most areas. Some heating stations were forced to switch to backup fuel supplies such as coal, he said.

A crew of more than 100 people has worked around the clock on the rupture and expected to have the pipe repaired by around 5 a.m. Thursday, he said.

Meanwhile, NTV television news Wednesday showed Siberian residents walking on city streets bundled in cocoons of fur coats and hats, with only their eyes showing. One woman complained, "How can you possibly live in these conditions?" NTV also showed an emergency crew searching basements and stairways for homeless people who froze to death during the cold snap.

Temperatures in western Siberia hovered at about minus 32 degrees Celsius on Wednesday.