Mexico eyes homicide charges in maternity blast

Rescuers work amid the wreckage caused by an explosion in a hospital in Cuajimalpa, Mexico City, on January 29, 2015 (AFP Photo/David Deolarte) (AFP/File)

Mexico City (AFP) - A Mexican gas company could face homicide charges and a $2.9 million fine over a tanker truck explosion that destroyed a maternity hospital, killing two babies and three adults, officials said Monday.

Rodolfo Rios, Mexico City's chief prosecutor, blamed the January 29 explosion on "poor maintenance" of the truck owned by Gas Express Nieto, a company that provides propane to 31 hospitals in the capital.

The explosion was caused after two bolts in the pump's joint broke off, causing a propane leak and cloud of gas that found an ignition point inside the hospital, he said.

Most of the hospital was destroyed by the explosion, injuring dozens and killing two babies, two nurse and an orderly.

Rios said his office will seek "in the coming days" homicide and property damage charges against those responsible for the blast. He did not provide names, but three employees, including the driver, have been arrested.

Authorities will also ask for compensation to be paid to the victims.

Energy Minister Pedro Joaquin Coldwell said his office has opened an investigation that could lead to a $2.9 million fine and the revocation of a distribution permit.