(NEW YORK) — A gas station in the Russian town of Makhachkala, in the southern region of Dagestan, exploded on Tuesday evening, killing at least 35 and injuring dozens of others, local officials said.
Seventy-five people were being treated for injuries at hospitals, with 10 in serious condition, the health ministry said. Three children were among the dead, officials said.
Officials said the blaze appeared to have started in a nearby car before spreading to the gas station. Two of the station’s eight tanks exploded, officials said.
Photos released by Russia’s Emergency Ministry appeared to show firefighters battling a raging blaze that had engulfed a structure and several vehicles. Images released by the agency on Tuesday morning appeared to show demolition vehicles at the site, working to clear destroyed buildings.
The explosion was possibly caused by storing agrochemicals with flammable characteristics, the press service of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation said, according to TASS, a Russian news agency.
The gas supply nearby was stopped as part of an emergency response, local officials said.
A criminal case has been initiated under the article “provision of services that do not meet the requirements for the safety of life or health of consumers, resulting in the death of two or more persons by negligence,” local officials said.
Makhachkala, which is the capital of the Dagestan region, is a port city on the Caspian Sea.
ABC News’ William Gretsky and Natalia Shumskaia contributed to this story.
Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.