KABUL, Afghanistan — Firefighters struggled for a second day Sunday to battle a massive fireplace that began when a fuel tanker exploded at a major crossing in Afghanistan’s western Herat province on the Iranian border, officials said.
At least 20 other folks were injured and many of the more than 500 trucks lined up at the Islam Qala crossing carrying natural gas and fuel were restful ablaze, according to Afghan officials and Iranian state media.
Herat provincial Gov. Wahid Qatali said first responders were rapid overwhelmed Saturday by the grand, out-of-control fireplace. “When each cylinder was exploding it was flying 100s of meters excessive,” he advised The Associated Press.
Two explosions at the border crossing were remarkable ample to be noticed from space by NASA satellites. One blast erupted around 1: 10 p.m. Afghan time (0840 GMT), the next around a half-hour later at 1: 42 p.m. local (0912 GMT).
The United States allows Afghanistan to import fuel and oil from Iran as part of a special concession that exempts Kabul from U.S. sanctions against Iran. Satellite photos taken Saturday before the explosion showed dozens of tankers parked at the border crossing.
Qatali said officials were concerned that windy prerequisites Sunday may well fan the flames and spread the fireplace to even more fuel-laden trucks in the area. He said the govt.was able to save more than 1,200 trucks.
Herat’s chamber of commerce and industries chief Younus Qazizada said the explosion and fireplace started when provincial customs workers were inspecting a gas tanker. But an investigation into the cause of the fireplace persisted Sunday.
“If the govt.would have invested the profits of a single day of customs (tariffs) in the firefighting department this chaos wouldn’t have happened,” Qazizada said.
Iran’s semi-official ISNA information agency reported an estimated $50 million lack of items and consignments in the catastrophe. Qazizada estimated the losses were twice that distinguished.
Qatali, the provincial governor, said the investigative team will examine video footage of the area but Wakel Ahmad Karokhi, a Herat provincial council member, said the customs facility was totally consumed by the fireplace.
The fireplace spread Saturday to the Dogharoon customs facilities on the Iranian aspect of the border and first responders — in conjunction with the fireplace department, the Iranian army and border forces — were assisting in extinguishing the blaze, according to Iranian state tv. The Afghan aspect of the border crossing has its contain fireplace department, but officials in Herat said they were by no means on top of things of the blaze.
Iran despatched 15 firefighting gadgets to the Afghanistan aspect to assist.
The Islam Qala border crossing is around 120 kilometers (75 miles) west of town of Herat and is a major transit route between Afghanistan and Iran.
The Afghan govt is working on an alternative to resume trade between the two nations, as Afghanistan is principally reckoning on imported items from neighboring nations. Iran officials say that they may accelerate the custom route of at various border crossings with Afghanistan.
The fireplace persisted to burn Sunday and the explosions shut down the facility grid between Iran and Afghanistan, leaving Herat in the dark, said Wahidullah Tawhidi, spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Energy Present.
According to ISNA, Iranian authorities allowed 2,000 trucks to transfer into the Iranian aspect from Islam Qala to discontinue additional damage. Seven of the injured were transferred to hospitals interior Iran.
Tameem reported from Kabul. Associated Press writers Rahim Faiez in Kabul and Nassir Karimi in Tehran, Iran contributed.
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