At least 27 people died and dozens were injured Monday night by an explosion and a fire at a gas station dagestana Russian region in the Caucasusannounced the Ministry of Emergency Situations.
“A total of 102 people were injured after one incident, among whom unfortunately 27 are dead,” the ministry said on Telegram.
The explosion took place in the city of makhachkalaOn the banks of Caspian Sea, after a fire broke out at the gas station, the Dagestan Investigative Committee said on Telegram.
“A fire occurred during vehicle maintenance work, followed by an explosion, as a result of which people were injured and killed,” the committee said.
Buildings near the station were affected, he added.
This committee opened a criminal investigation to establish the causes of the fire, he said.
state press agencies TASS and Ria Novosti They noted, citing the ministry, that the fire had been extinguished.
Makhachkala, with about 600,000 inhabitants, is the capital of Dagestan, a republic of the Russian Federation bordering on Chechnya which shares a border with Georgia and Azerbaijan.
A plane was sent to this city to evacuate the seriously injured to Moscow, the ministry added.
The head of the Dagestan administration, Sergei Melikov, explained that the detonation took place shortly before 10:00 p.m. (7:00 p.m. GMT).
“The reasons and the type of explosion are becoming clear,” he added.
According to a witness quoted in Telegram by the Russian newspaper Izvestia, the fire started in an area where there were parked vehicles and spread to the gas station.
“After the explosion, everything fell on top of our heads, we didn’t see anything”, explained this witness, whose name is not mentioned in the media.
A video posted on Telegram by the news agency Ria Novosti shows flames rising above a building before a gigantic explosion occurs.
City authorities had previously notified a fire at an auto center that it ended up spreading about 600 square meters, reaching the gas station and causing the explosion. At that time it was also reported that they deployed 260 firefighters to extinguish it.
In addition, the Investigative Committee of Russia has announced the opening of a criminal case for “provision of services that do not meet the requirements of safety of life or health of consumers, resulting in the death of two or more people due to negligence.”
“According to the investigation, on August 14, 2023, at around 9:50 p.m. Moscow time, in the building of a car service station (…) during the performance of car maintenance, a fire broke out and a subsequent explosion, as a result of which people were injured and killed. In addition, nearby buildings and cars were damaged,” the committee report states.
(With information from AFP and Europa Press)
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