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Death toll in Armenia explosion rises to 6, more than 60 injured

#Death #toll #Armenia #explosion #rises #injured

The death toll from an explosion at a busy market in the Armenian capital Yerevan rose to six on Monday as search operations continued for people believed to be trapped under rubble.

Another 61 people were injured and 15 were missing after Sunday’s blast that caused a building to collapse at Surmalu wholesale market, Armenia’s Minister for Emergencies Armen Pambukhchyan said.

Rescue operations are proceeding “very cautiously” and people are still believed to be trapped under the rubble, he added.

Pambukhchyan told reporters that video footage of the incident showed that “there can be no question of a terrorist attack” as the fire erupted before the blast.

He said the fire spread to “pyro materials.” Local media had previously said the blast started at a location where fireworks were being stored.

The cause of the fire was determined.

The minister said smoke and small fires could continue for several days, with much plastic smoldering at the scene.

Photos and videos posted to social media after the blast showed a thick column of black smoke over the market and a series of detonations could be heard.

Prosecutors meanwhile opened investigations into violations “in the storage of flammable goods”, violations of fire safety standards and the death of people “due to negligence”.

According to his press service, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan visited the site of the explosion on Monday.

A total of 200 firefighters and medical personnel as well as fire engines and construction site equipment were sent to the scene.

Rescue workers used an excavator to clear debris, an AFP journalist at the scene reported.

The disaster comes as the country of three million people is still recovering from a 2020 war with Azerbaijan that ended in defeat and sparked a political crisis.

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#Death #toll #Armenia #explosion #rises #injured

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