Gas station explosion kills 35, injures dozens in Russia’s Dagestan region

Blaze started at a car repair shop on Monday night then spread to nearby fuel station

DAGESTAN-At least 35 people were killed and dozens more injured when a fire caused an explosion at a gas station in the southern Rus­sian republic of Dagestan, local authorities said.

The blaze started at a car re­pair shop on Monday night then spread to the nearby fuel station on the outskirts of Dagestan’s capital of Makhachkal, Russia’s emergency situations minis­try said. Several children were among the dead, according to the head of the Dagestan republic, Sergey Melikov, and at least three bodies were recovered from the rubble, state media agency TASS reported. TASS reported that 80 people were wounded, citing a department of the Russian min­istry of health, in an apparent revision of the injury toll that Melikov earlier put at 102.

The emergency ministry said it sent a special aircraft to evac­uate casualties from the blast to hospitals in Moscow.

Specialists from the Federal Center for Disaster Medicine of the Ministry of Health as well as Moscow medical organizations have also arrived in Dagestan to provide assistance, accord­ing to TASS. Search and rescue efforts were ongoing as of Tues­day morning, with emergency workers clearing the rubble and searching for potential survi­vors, TASS reported. Russia’s In­vestigative Committee launched a criminal investigation into the deadly blaze, state media agency RIA Novosti reported Monday. A statement from the Kremlin said Russian President Vladimir Putin “expressed condolences to the families and friends of those killed in the explosion at a gas station in Makhachkala, and wished a speedy recovery to the victims.” 

Dagestan’s head of government Abdulmuslim Abdulmuslimov visited the site of the disaster in in Makhachkala on Tuesday. 

The Dagestan government de­clared Tuesday a day of mourn­ing, TASS reported.

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