At least three firemen are missing, following a powerful explosion triggered by a major fuel depot blaze in the central region of Ukraine, near the capital Kiev.
Emergency services are battling to prevent the spread of a deadly fuel depot fire outside Kiev, the head of the emergency services said on Tuesday, and three firemen were reported missing after the blaze triggered a powerful explosion.
The fire burned overnight and by morning had spread to at least 16 tanks, most of them storing petrol, sending a huge pall of smoke over the area surrounding the depot near Vasylkiv, 30 km (19 miles) from Kiev.
“At the depot, entire fuel tanks have been destroyed. Nearby – 100 metres (330 ft) away – there’s another fuel depot and the main thing is to prevent the fire reaching it,” the emergency services chief Valeriy Borysov said in a televised briefing.
Three firemen were unaccounted for after an explosion ripped through the area as they battled the fire.
At least 11 people were injured in the fire and one later died in hospital, local media reported. Some 62 fire-fighting units and three trains delivering water and supplies had been mobilised, emergency services said.
Interior Ministry official Zoryan Shkiryak said police were investigating three possible causes for the fire.
These included “violations of fuel storage regulations, technical malfunctions or arson,” the ministry quoted him as saying.
Of the 16 affected, eight had a capacity of 900 cubic metres, while the rest were smaller volume, the emergency ministry said.