Thunderous explosion rocks Tashkent, one dead and 162 injured in customs warehouse blast

Thunderous explosion rocks Tashkent, one dead and 162 injured in customs warehouse blast
A mushroom cloud rose hundreds of feet high lighting up the night sky following the mysterious blast. / social media
By bne IntelIiNews September 28, 2023

Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has ordered a government commission to swiftly find out what caused a massive blast at an industrial warehouse near Tashkent’s international airport in the early hours of September 28, which left a 15-year-old boy dead and injured 162 people, including at least five children. The commission has been given three days to deliver its conclusions.

A mushroom cloud rose hundreds of feet high lighting up the night sky following the thunderous explosion at the Inter Logistics LLC warehouse, causing locals to speculate that stored explosives were to blame or an airplane had crashed. Officials refuted all of this speculation, but offered the theory that a lightning strike was to blame. Later, Mash reported that batteries for electric cars exploded at the airport warehouse, causing the destruction of the building in the shock wave.

City hall said 600 apartments in 26 high-rise buildings were damaged by the blast. A school and two kindergarten buildings were also damaged.

Emergency officials said the explosion occurred around 02:43 local time in Sergeli district. The subsequent blaze spread across an area of 15,000 square metres, with the fire taking eight hours to extinguish, according to the emergency services ministry.

The 16-person commission investigating the incident is led by deputy prime minister Ochilboy Ramatov. The commission’s remit includes delivering rapid measures to mitigate losses, providing medical and psychological assistance to victims and inspecting impacted residential properties.

Interior ministry investigators have opened an investigation into suspected fire safety violations at the Inter Logistics LLC warehouse.

Business news outlet Spot.uz reported that Inter Logistics LLC was founded by two entities, with the larger stake reportedly held by United Arab Emirates-based Integra Benefits Investments. 

The State Customs Committee said the warehouse provided a storage area for imported items awaiting customs clearance from officials. 

Otabek Yuldashev, a spokesman for the defence ministry, told local news outlet Daryo: "Tents are being set up, and lunches and dinners are being prepared for residents. A mobile hospital is deployed in the area, offering assistance to citizens. Military psychologists have also initiated psychological support services for the population."

The government said it would compensate all economic losses suffered by citizens as a result of the incident.

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