A massive explosion occurred in the firecrackers storage area of a major market in the capital Armenia. At least one person was killed, 20 were injured, and the explosion caused a large fire.
explosion It happened around 1.20 pm local time. According to the National Crisis Management Center in a report collected by ArmenPress, Surmalu caused serious damage to the market.
The deceased has been identified as a 40-year-old man, according to the latest update from the Ministry of Emergencies. Ten minors were among the injured.
The mayor’s office said an unknown number of people were there Trapped under the rubble from the market. Rescue teams are working to evacuate them, said the mayor’s spokesman, Levon Zardarian. A large plume of smoke billowed over Yerevan, two kilometers (1.2 mi) south of the market center. The explosion occurred in the area where firecrackers were stored.
“Now pyrotechnic explosions are still being heard, which makes the job more complicated. I think it will take a long time to put out this fire,” he said.Director of the Rescue Service of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Armenia, Orson Kasparyan, told the Russian agency TASS.
An Associated Press reporter at the scene saw two people pulled from the rubble: a woman with a leg injury and an unconscious young man. Emergencies Minister Armen Pambouxian said two sisters were rescued from the rubble alive.
For more than three hours after the afternoon market explosion, firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze, which sent a plume of smoke into central Yerevan. Rescue workers and plainclothes volunteers searched for people trapped under layers of concrete and twisted metal.
In videos and photos circulating online, a thick column of black smoke can be seen rising into the sky.
In one video, multiple explosions can be heard in succession, similar to the sound of firecrackers exploding.
At the scene there are now more than a dozen combat units of the Yerevan City Fire Brigade with the help of the regional rescue departments of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.
Armenia, a small Caucasian country of about three million people, is going through a difficult period after the 2020 war against neighboring Azerbaijan, which ended in a heavy defeat and major political crisis.
(With information from EP, AP and AFP)
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