Blasts, fire at Azeri chemical plant kill at least three

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 17, 2012 1:48 PM
Blasts, fire at Azeri chemical plant kill at least three

BAKU (Reuters) - At least three people were killed and two were injured after three explosions tore through a chemical plant outside Azerbaijan's capital of Baku on Monday, sparking a fire, government and judicial authorities said.

"Three people were killed, one is still missing and two were injured as a result of the incident," said a joint statement by the Emergency Ministry and the state prosecutor's office in the former Soviet republic.

The cause of the blasts in the fuel tanks of a privately-owned detergent plant was not immediately clear but they were powerful enough to ignite a large fire.

Local news agencies citing police sources said as many as five were killed and several were injured.

Television images showed flames rising from the factory and ambulances outside the building in the city of Sumgait, some 19 miles outside of Baku. Firefighters were on the scene.

(Reporting by Afet Mehdiyeva and Margarita Antidze; writing by Margarita Antidze; and Thomas Grove; editing by Mark Heinrich)