• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

213 dead from fire, explosion at Congo ammo depot

Damaged buildings are seen at a military barracks in the Ouenze neighborhood after multiple explosions occurred at a nearby munitions depot, in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo Sunday, March 4, 2012. Blasts rocked the capital of the Republic of Congo Sunday morning after a weapons depot caught fire, officials said, killing and wounding unknown numbers of people and forcing 2,000 to flee their homes. (Louis Okamba)

March 5, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Fires continued to burn through an ammunitions depot Monday, setting off explosions in the capitol city of the Republic of Congo.

The explosions were so violent that they flattened houses, businesses and churches. An initial blast Sunday killed 213 people. The death toll is expected to rise as crews begin clearing debris, including from St. Louis Catholic Church where dozens of worshippers were attending Sunday Mass when the building buckled under the force of the blast.

Government spokesman Bienvenu Okyemi blamed a short circuit for Sunday's fire that set off the blasts.The first major fire has been extinguished.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.