Drone footage of Ukrainian oil depot blaze shows scale of disaster (VIDEO)
The video shows numerous oil tanks on fire and vast plumes of thick black smoke – hundreds of meters in height – rising into the air.
The disaster at the BRSM-Nafta facility started on Monday night. On Tuesday, the fire spread across the site and caused massive explosions, killing four people and injuring a dozen.
Fire brigades and National Guard soldiers continued fighting the blaze on Wednesday. According to the latest information, three fuel tanks are still on fire.
The blaze raised huge ecology concerns as a large amount of toxic substances were released into the air.
— RT (@RT_com) June 10, 2015
The Interior Ministry believes that safety violations were the likely cause for the blaze as counterfeit petroleum products were produced at the facility, TASS reported.
Fire brigades and National Guard soldiers continued fighting the blaze with special military-style firefighting tanks on Wednesday. The latest information shows three of the 17 fuel tanks are still on fire and almost all of the storage facility has been destroyed.
RT correspondent Lizzie Phelan reported that the fire at the site “shows no sight of ending,” although the wind in the area was “relatively calm.” She also mentioned there were fears that the fire could spread to an oil depot and a military base, which are both nearby.
The disaster could have consequences not only for the Ukrainian capital, which has a population of around three million people, but also for neighboring European countries.
“Whenever you have hydrocarbons like this burning, releasing all sorts of carcinogenic substances, and the smoke particles themselves are toxic, there is the danger of exposure to what are potentially carcinogenic materials,” Tim Mousseau, a biological sciences professor at the University of South Carolina, told RT. “Certainly, there is a potential hazard to anyone who is engulfed by the smoke.”
According to the head of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine, Nikolay Chechetkin, there was no apparent danger of an explosion, yet “it is impossible to completely rule this out,” he said, as cited by 112 Ukraine TV-channel.
The rescuers assured the locals that their health was not in danger as they handed out gauze bandages. The authorities were also watering the roads to reduce pollution.
“The fire is big and the sky is completely black. We have witnessed ‘black rain’ which lasted for about five to 10 minutes,” a local witness told RT on Tuesday.
Kiev’s mayor Vitaly Klitschko said that the concentration of obnoxious substances that have formed following the fire, exceeds the normal safe levels in the capital, after air quality tests were carried out.