YEREVAN — The death toll has risen to three people in the major explosion and fire at a Yerevan market where firefighters continued to fight the blaze late into the night, authorities said.
Officials also said at least 61 people, including children, were injured after a fireworks warehouse at Surmalu, a sprawling wholesale and retail market just outside the city center, exploded on Sunday afternoon under still unclear circumstances. There are 19 people unaccounted for yet.
All injured people have been receiving treatment in hospitals in the Armenian capital, health authorities said.
Investigators say they will start looking into possible causes of the explosion and fire once conditions permit.
The Ministry of Emergency Situations says firefighters and rescuers are working on the scene at the popular market called Surmalu where both wholesale and retail trade is available.
According to Taguhi Stepanyan, director of an ambulance service, dozens of injured people have been taken to different hospitals in the Armenian capital.
It was immediately unclear what caused the blast. Videos posted on social media showed black smoke rising from the Surmalu market where, among other things, fireworks and other pyrotechnics are sold.
Video posted on social media showed thick grey smoke rising above a building, followed by an explosion that sent people running away from the scene.
Levon Sardaryan, a spokesman for Yerevan’s municipality, later confirmed reports that the explosion took place at the fireworks warehouse.
He said rescuers were on the scene trying to pull out injured people from under the rubble after a three-story building had partially collapsed.