YEREVAN (Combined Sources) — A devastating explosion at a fireworks storage area at the Surmalu shopping center in Yerevan on Sunday, August 14, at around 1.20 p.m., has resulted in at least 16 deaths so far and 60 injuries. About four people are still missing.
Rescue workers sifted through twisted metal and rubble in a search for survivors throughout the night as firefighters continued to fight the blaze amid clouds of dust and smoke in the air just two kilometers outside of the city center.
The Armenian Ministry of Emergency Situations said initial investigation showed two large explosions brought down part of a building housing fireworks.
It was not immediately clear what caused the fireworks to detonate. Criminal proceedings have been launched.
Those who died in the explosion include Misak Margaryan, Anahit Mkhitaryan, Gemma Nazaryan, Anahit Khalatyan, Vardan Kocharyan and Gayane Avetisyan.
“A little while ago, the rescuers took out another body from the rubble. As of now, we have six victims. The search and rescue operations are continuing,” says Hayk Kostanyan, press secretary of the Ministry of Emergency Situations.