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Death toll from Armenia fireworks explosion rises to six, scores injured (Updated)

aftermath of explosion in a shopping mall in yerevan
Firefighters extinguish a fire after blasts ripped through a fireworks warehouse in a shopping mall in Yerevan

 Rescuers have recovered two more bodies from the site of a fireworks warehouse blast in Armenia, bringing the death toll from Sunday’s accident to six, Armenia‘s emergencies ministry as saying on Monday.

Blasts ripped through a fireworks warehouse in a shopping mall in the Armenian capital of Yerevan on Sunday.

Video footage showed grey smoke billowing over a building and people scurrying away from the area.

Rescue workers sifted through twisted metal and rubble in a search for survivors as clouds of dust and smoke hung in the air. Bystanders helped victims move to safe areas.

Interfax news agency quoted Armenia‘s Emergency Ministry as saying the body of a third victim had been recovered. Officials had earlier reported two deaths. By Monday this had risen to six.

Emergencies Minister Armen Pambukhchyan, quoted by Sputnik Armenia news agency, said the fire had been extinguished, but strong winds still posed a threat. He said rescue teams would continue the search for survivors through the night.

The Emergencies Ministry said initial investigation showed two large explosions brought down part of a building housing fireworks. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan visited the scene along with officials, the ministry said.

Armenia‘s Health Ministry said 61 people had been injured, with several treated in hospital.

It was not clear what caused the blast, although the authorities have ruled out terrorism.

“Looking at the footage of the moment of the blast, it becomes obvious that there can be no talk of a terrorist act, because first there is some fire, smoke rises, and then an explosion,” Armenpress news agency quoted emergencies minister Armen Pambukhchyan as saying.

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