At least 13 people have been injured after a fire sparked a huge explosion at a gas station in southwest Russia.
Footage of the blast showed an enormous fireball shooting into the sky over the city of Volgograd.
Ten of those injured were taken to hospital, local media reported.
The victims included firefighters who had been called to the petrol station to tackle the initial blaze at 12.40pm local time (8.40am GMT), according to Russia’s emergencies ministry.
“The firefighters were literally scattered by a blast wave,” Vladislav Kopyev, head of the region’s 1st fire and rescue unit, was quoted by the ministry as saying.
The initial fire is believed to have been sparked by a discharge of static electricity as fuel was pumped from a tanker to an underground storage tank.
Staff had evacuated the station before the blast went off and caused a larger blaze, which spread over 1,000 square metres.
Maxim Chertovy, one of the firefighters in attendance, said: “Feeling the blast wave, I fell to the ground. Looking up, I saw the gas station blazing, and the flames rise several meters in height.”
Seventy firefighters tackled the fire. Crews deployed a firefighting robot, which they steered remotely to the centre of the blaze to extinguish it.
Dramatic of the explosion has been shared widely on social media, with many viewers comparing it to the blast at Beirut’s port that killed at least 137 people in the Lebanese capital last week.
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