35 people have been reported dead following an explosion at an auto-repair shop in Makhachkala – the capital of Russia’s southern republic of Dagestan – on Monday evening.
On Tuesday morning, Russia’s Ministry of Emergency Situations (EMERCOM) added that at least 105 people had been injured. The blast also caused a fire and further powerful explosions at an adjacent fuel station.
According to Russia’s Health Ministry, dozens of people – including numerous children – are being treated in hospitals in Makhachkala. It added that many of the injured are in a serious condition.
Local investigators have opened a criminal probe into the incident based on suspicions that services were being provided in an unsafe manner, causing numerous fatalities.
The Telegram channel SHOT posted a video capturing the immediate aftermath of the blast. Footage shows massive bursts of flames rising over a large area near the fuel station, which also appears to be on fire. Plumes of black smoke were seen billowing into the sky. According to some reports, the fire spread from the fuel station to nearby buildings.
More than 70 first responders are now working at the scene, with canine teams involved in the efforts, according to EMERCOM. The region’s governor, Sergey Melikov, said on Telegram that he was personally monitoring the situation.
The first deputy head of the Health Ministry, Viktor Fisenko, flew to Dagestan to ensure that the victims received all necessary medical assistance. Meanwhile, the Emergencies Ministry said the victims would be airlifted to Moscow on a special flight, if necessary.