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27 Aug, 2017 07:05

Multiple blasts rock Azeri ammo depot engulfed by fire (VIDEO)

Multiple blasts rock Azeri ammo depot engulfed by fire (VIDEO)

Multiple explosions have rocked an ammunition depot in Azerbaijan, where a fire broke out on Sunday morning. At least six people were injured in the incident. Residents of nearby villages have been evacuated.

A group of first responders is currently at the scene to ensure safety and investigate the causes of the fire, a statement by the country’s defense ministry said.

The Azeri national emergencies service said it sent several fire brigade units in response to the incident.

The authorities would not immediately specify the location of the depot, but local media placed it in the Siazan District of north-eastern Azerbaijan.

Footage published by the news website oxu.az shows a road with cars passing by a massive column of smoke rising in the distance.

Health officials said six people injured by shrapnel were taken to hospital. Their lives are not in danger.

All six injured people are service members; five were released from hospital later in the day while the sixth was kept in for observation. Azeri officials described his condition as stable.

The national ambulance service said its response to the emergency was restricted because it could not risk sending medics closer to the scene due to the threat posed by the continuing explosions.

“Ten ambulances are currently directed to the blast area, however they cannot arrive at the incident cite due to additional explosions,” said service chief Miralam Jalalov, as cited by APA news agency. “Additional ambulances will be involved if needed.”

Several villages located in the immediate vicinity of the depot have been evacuated, the defense ministry said.

Several houses in the village Gilyazi, which is among those ordered to evacuate, were hit by projectiles coming from the depot, local officials told the media. The shells started fires in the buildings, with firefighters dealing with the spillover.

Shells also reportedly landed in several other locations in the area, but caused no damage.

A motorway linking the Azeri capital Baku with Russia was shut off in the wake of the incident.

“The traffic at the Baku-Guba roadway has been stopped due to the danger posed by explosions at a weapons depot,” highway patrol spokesman Karmran Aliev said in a statement. “Drivers are advised to postpone travel in that direction.”