Ukraine fuel depot blaze under control, 1 person killed, three firemen missing

The fire at a fuel depot outside Kiev burned overnight and by morning had spread to at least 16 tanks. There was no longer any threat of the blaze spreading and emergency services were putting out remaining fires in the depot, a top security official said.

Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters
Firefighting trucks are parked near a fuel depot which is on fire near Vasylkiv, Kiev region, Ukraine, June 9, 2015. Emergency services struggled to prevent the spread of a deadly fuel depot fire outside Kiev on Tuesday and three firemen were reported missing after the blaze triggered a powerful explosion. The fire burned overnight and by morning had spread to at least 16 tanks, most of them storing petrol. That sent a huge pall of black smoke over the area surrounding the depot near Vasylkiv, 19 miles from Kiev.

Emergency services stopped a fuel depot fire outside Kiev from spreading on Tuesday, officials said, but the fate of three firemen missing after the blaze triggered a powerful explosion was unknown.

The fire burned overnight and by morning had spread to at least 16 tanks, most of them storing petrol. That sent a huge pall of black smoke over the area around the depot near Vasylkiv, 30 km (19 miles) from Kiev. The depot's owners said they suspected arson.

"Firemen have the situation ... under total control," top security official Oleksander Turchynov said in a statement.

There was no longer any threat of the blaze spreading and emergency services were putting out remaining fires in the depot, he said.

Entire oil tanks were consumed in the flames, which emergency services had feared would spread to another fuel depot nearby. Weapons and equipment were removed from a neighboring military base to a place of safety.

"The crisis will be resolved entirely within the next 12 hours," Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said in televised comments.

One person died in hospital after being hurt in the incident and several others were injured, Ukrainian media said. Three firemen were unaccounted for after the explosion ripped through the area as they battled the fire.

Sixty-two fire-fighting units and three trains delivering water and supplies have been mobilized, emergency services said.

Rescuers had evacuated people from within a two-kilometer radius of the fire, Turchynov said.

Interior Ministry official Zoryan Shkiryak said police were investigating three possible causes of the fire -- "violations of fuel storage regulations, technical malfunctions or arson."

The owners of the depot, BRSM-Nafta, said in a statement they believed the fire was the result of an arson attack aimed at damaging its business.

Of the 16 fuel tanks affected, eight had a capacity of 900 cubic meters, while the rest were smaller in volume, the emergency ministry said. The overall capacity of the depot is 25,000 cubic meters.

(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk and Serhiy Karaziy; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Richard Balmforth and Andrew Roche)

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.