Huge Blast Hits Fuel Depot Near Kiev

Huge Blast Hits Fuel Depot Near KievHuge Blast Hits Fuel Depot Near Kiev

Several Ukrainian firefighters were feared dead Tuesday outside Kiev when a ferocious blast tore through a fuel depot, sparking a gigantic fire that spread to nearby buildings.

Hundreds of residents were evacuated from the site of the blasts, while the defense ministry said it was also taking emergency measures to prevent the flames engulfing a nearby military airbase that has MiG-29 fighter jets and munitions on site, France24 reported.

The interior ministry said at least one person had perished in the conflagration in a leafy town called Vasylkiv about 30 km southwest of Ukraine’s capital Kiev.

Fourteen people, including seven rescue workers, were being treated for burns and other injuries, with at least one person confirmed dead.

The lightning speed with which the flames spread to neighboring gas stations and fuel tanks resulted in initial confusion among emergency workers and contradictory toll reports.

Ukraine’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said officials were still trying to establish contact with three of the 30 firemen who were initially sent to the spot of the first blast.

But more explosions soon followed and dozens of additional firetrucks and ambulances were dispatched to the scene, where thick black smoke billowed into the sky.