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35 dead, 80 injured in Russian gas station explosion

Russian authorities said 35 people died and 80 were injured during a gas station explosion on Monday night. Photo by Russian Emergencies Ministry/EPA-EFE
Russian authorities said 35 people died and 80 were injured during a gas station explosion on Monday night. Photo by Russian Emergencies Ministry/EPA-EFE

Aug. 15 (UPI) -- At least 35 people died and 80 others were injured on Monday night after an explosion and fire that shook a gas station at the edge of the Russian city of Makhachkala, officials said.

Emergency officials said a fire believed to be connected to the explosion started at a car repair shop next to the gas station. Authorities used search-and-rescue dog teams to look for other possible victims.

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"The blast that occurred at a gas station on the Astrakhan-Makhachkala highway near the Novokuli settlement on Aug. 14 caused casualties," the regional governor said on Tuesday, according to the state-run news agency TASS.

According to Russia's Investigative Committee, a fire broke out during some car maintenance work and was followed by a "bang" and a criminal case has been opened to find out what happened.

Those who sustained the most serious injuries were transferred to medical facilities in Moscow as authorities said that emergency services were ongoing and it was likely that the death toll will increase.

"Dagestan's head Sergey Melikovis sends his condolences to the families and friends of those killed. He has issued an order declaring August 15 to be a day of mourning in the Republic of Dagestan."

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Melikov said a state of emergency was declared in the Kumtorkalinsky district in Dagestan as about 260 emergency workers moved in to assist in recovery.

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