Dozens killed in gas station fire in Russia’s Dagestan

At least 35 people were killed in an explosion that created a huge fire ball at a fuel station in Russia’s remote Caucasus republic of Dagestan, spurring condolences from President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday.

Images distributed by the emergencies ministry showed burnt-out cars silhouetted by the massive blaze and rescue workers in helmets attempting to put out the fire and clear rubble.

Government ministries said 35 people had died and 80 had been injured.

The Kremlin issued a statement saying: “President Putin expresses his most sincere condolences to the families and friends of the victims of the tragedy in Dagestan and wishes a speedy recovery to the victims.”

The explosion in the city of Makhachkala happened at a fuel station after a fire broke out, the regional branch of the Investigative Committee, which probes major incidents, announced on social media.

“A fire occurred during car maintenance work, followed by a bang, as a result of which people were injured and died,” the committee said, adding that nearby buildings and cars were damaged.

A criminal case has been opened to establish the circumstances leading up to the fire, it added.

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