At least 35 killed in fire, explosion at petrol station in Dagestan, Russia

Sixteen children among more than 100 wounded in fire and blast at Dagestan fuel station, authorities report.

In this image provided by the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry press service, firefighters try to extinguish a fire at a petrol station on a road near Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, Russia
Firefighters try to extinguish a fire at a petrol station on a road near Makhachkala [Ministry of Emergency Situations press service/handout via AP]

A fire and explosion at a petrol station in the southern Russian region of Dagestan has killed at least 35 people, including three children, and injured more than 100, according to local officials and news reports.

The fire started at an auto repair shop on the roadside of a highway in the Dagestani capital Makhachkala, which is located on the Caspian Sea, on Monday night and caused blasts spreading to a nearby petrol station, officials said earlier on Tuesday.

“It’s like a war here,” a witness told the Reuters news agency.

Russia’s Emergency Ministry reported on Tuesday that a total of 115 people were injured, including 16 children, and 35 people had died. Three of those killed were children, Dagestan’s Governor Sergei Melikov said.

The explosion took place at 9:40pm (18:40 GMT) on Monday night, Melikov said on the Telegram messaging app.

“The reasons and type of the explosion are being clarified,” he said.

The authorities have begun a criminal investigation. Tuesday has been declared a day of mourning in Dagestan.

Families of the dead will receive 1 million rubles (about $10,000) each and the injured between 200,000 and 400,000 rubles (about $2,000-$4,000), Dagestan’s authorities said.

An aircraft had been dispatched to Makhachkala to evacuate the seriously injured to Moscow, Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry said on the Telegram messaging app.

Makhachkala is about 1,600km (990 miles) south of Moscow.

Huge explosion

A witness quoted on Telegram by the Russian daily Izvestia said the fire started in an area where cars were parked and spread to the petrol station.

“After the explosion, everything fell on our heads, we couldn’t see anything any more,” the unnamed witness was quoted as saying.

A video posted on Telegram by the RIA news agency showed flames rising from a building, followed by a huge explosion.

The fire spread over an area of approximately 600 square metres (6,460 square feet), the ministry said, adding that 260 firefighters were deployed.

It took firefighters more than three and a half hours to put out the fire, the TASS state news agency reported, citing a statement from the Russian emergency service.

Source: News Agencies