MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday expressed condolences to the families of 35 people killed in a major fire and explosion that tore through an auto-repair shop beside a highway in the Dagestani capital of Makhachkala
Russian investigators said the fire broke out at about 9:50 pm on Monday at an auto-repair shop which swiftly spread to a neighbouring building where fertiliser was stored, resulting in an explosion that in turn tore through a fuel station.
“We offer our condolences to all the families of our citizens and our people who died,” Putin told a video conference he chaired from the Kremlin.
Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova told Putin that 35 people were killed, including three children, and that 119 people had been injured, including 20 children.
The head of Dagestan, Sergei Melikov, has said the causes of the incident were “greed and avarice” which had allowed all rational safety rules to be broken.
Russia’s emergencies minister, Alexander Kurenkov, told Putin that he was concerned about the causes of the fire. Putin said investigators were looking into the causes of the fire.
Video from the scene showed an intense fire followed by a major explosion which left a vast crater.
(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Gareth Jones)