Firefighters die combating massive blaze at fuel storage facility near Kiev

A massive fire has caused explosions of oil tanks at a storage facility near Kiev, killing several firefighters. The inferno is out of control, setting 17 huge tanks ablaze. There are gas storage tanks on the site at risk of detonation.

According to a local TV channel 1+1, cited by RIA: "There were 180 rescuers at the facility when the blast occurred. It's not known how many survived. Ambulances can hardly manage to cope with transporting those injured. Rescuers say that gas pipelines run behind the oil tanks on fire, and they can explode as well.”

The disaster at the BRSM-Nafta facility some 20 km southwest of the Ukrainian capital started Monday night, with one worker fatally burned in the initial fire. Five others were hospitalized with serious burns. The death toll rose Tuesday morning as the fire spread across the site and caused massive explosions. Several firefighters responding to the emergency died, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said on his Twitter account.

Six firefighters are not accounted for, the Interior Ministry has reported. Six others were injured and taken to the hospital, it added. Some 50 fire brigades were called to the site to contain the blaze, but they were forced to back off.Residents of the nearby town of Vasilkov and several nearby villages said plumes of black smoke from the fire polluted the air. The facility holds some 15 tons of various fuels. It also has several storage tanks for LNG, which could be detonated by the fire. The fire may have been started by a botched attempt to seal fuel from a storage tank, UNIAN news agency cited a police source as saying.