Blaze at Armenian military barracks kills 15, injures three

As per reports, 15 servicemen were killed and three others suffered serious injuries after a military barracks caught fire overnight in Armenia on Thursday, stated the defence ministry. 

The fire “broke out in the barracks of an engineer and sniper company of a military unit”, stated the ministry. “Fifteen servicemen were killed as a result… The condition of three (other) servicemen is assessed as serious,” it added. 

It stated that the fire broke out around 01:30 am on Thursday (2130 GMT Wednesday) in Azat’s barracks, which is a village in Gegharkunik’s eastern region, near Azerbaijan’s border. 

The accident was “a result of the violation of fire safety rules, during which prohibited substances were used”, said Defence Minister Suren Papikyan, while speaking at a cabinet meeting where he gave the preliminary information.

“We are talking about gasoline,” he added. An army corps commander and various senior officers were dismissed by Papikyan over the incident. 

Investigators stated that a criminal investigation is being carried out into any kind of violation of the safety standards.

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Around a dozen people had lost their lives in an explosion which was followed by a fire at Yerevan’s busy market in August 2022. 

The defence ministry of Armenia on Thursday said that one of its servicemen suffered injuries in Azerbaijani fire and that his condition is “serious”. 

While speaking to local media, the defence ministry of Azerbaijan denied any kind of open firing by its soldiers. Both sides keep accusing each other of breaking the truce that was finalised after Russia’s mediation and led to the end of fighting between the two countries in 2020. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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