Fuel depot blaze in Ukraine kills five

Baku, June 10, AZERTAC

A massive fire at a Ukrainian fuel depot killed five people on Tuesday, officials said, including three firemen who went missing after the flames triggered a powerful explosion.

The fire burned overnight and by morning had spread to at least 16 tanks, most of them storing petrol. That sent a pall of black smoke over the area around the depot near Vasylkiv, 30 km (19 miles) from Kiev. The depot's owners said they suspected arson.

There was no longer any threat of the blaze spreading and emergency services were putting out remaining fires in the depot, he said.

Entire oil tanks were consumed in the flames, which emergency services had feared would spread to another fuel depot nearby. Weapons and equipment were removed from a neighboring military base to a place of safety.

"The crisis will be resolved entirely within the next 12 hours," Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said in televised comments.

The bodies of three firemen, unaccounted for after the explosion ripped through the area as they battled the fire, had been found, Avakov said. Two other people died and several others were injured, the emergency services said.

Sixty-two fire-fighting units and three trains delivering water and supplies have been mobilized, emergency services said.

Rescuers had evacuated people from within a two-kilometer radius of the fire, Turchynov said.

Interior Ministry official Zoryan Shkiryak said police were investigating three possible causes of the fire -- "violations of fuel storage regulations, technical malfunctions or arson".

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