Commission announces probable cause of massive Tashkent warehouse explosion

By Muzaffar Ismailov in Tashkent October 23, 2023

A government commission has published the preliminary results of an investigation into the massive explosion and fire that hit the Inter Logistics warehouse in the Sergeli district of Tashkent on the night of September 28.

The commission found that large volumes of chemicals, construction materials and other fire-hazardous goods were stored in the warehouse. They were kept in a mixed format, violating safety requirements.

Chemical analysis of samples from the emergency site revealed the presence of polyesters, xylene, sodium hydroxide, hydrogen peroxide, hydrocarbons, ethylene glycol and high-molecular esters, among other materials.

The results of the inspection showed that chemicals and materials in the warehouse reacted with each other. This provoked a spontaneous ignition and the subsequent explosion.
As a result of the incident, 163 people were injured. Thirteen suffered serious injuries. A child later died. 

Some 1,370 apartments across 39 apartment buildings were damaged, causing damage estimated at $1.2mn.

“During the investigation of the causes, it was found that the fire started in a warehouse constructed of sheet metal and sandwich panels. The subsequent explosion caused ‘deformation and scattering of metal structures’,” according to the conclusion of the investigation.

Four people were placed in custody after then incident. 

“Due to the complex nature of the necessary examinations, additional time is required to establish the [confirmed] causes and calculate the damage. The investigation is complicated by the fact that the goods of 12 tenant companies were stored in the burned warehouse. Final conclusions will be made upon completion of investigative measures and forensic examination,” the commission noted.

Representatives of the logistics company that used the warehouse stated that there were "no explosive goods stored in the complex". According to them, the warehouse where the fire occurred contained margarine, sunflower oil, mayonnaise and ketchup.

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