A massive fire has engulfed a customs check point in Afghanistan after hundreds of fuel trucks caught alight, injuring many people and prompting authorities across the nearby Iranian border to send fire engines and ambulances, officials said. More than 300 vehicles carrying gas, diesel and petrol caught fire, many exploded.
Several local people battled to control Saturday’s (13 February) blaze in the border town of Islam Qala, which initial reports said had started after a gas tanker exploded. Officials later said the cause was not immediately clear.
Thick plumes of black smoke and flames rose high into the sky around the scene, television pictures showed.
Saeed Khatibzadeh, the governor in Iran’s Razavi Khorasan province across the border, said his country has immediately set out to help those still stranded in the area and is keeping its border open to the people fleeing the area.
Wahid Tawhidi, a spokesman for power distribution company Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat, said 100 megawatts (MW) of electricity imported from Iran to Herat province had been disconnected because two pylons had burned down.
He said 60% of Herat, one of Afghanistan’s largest provinces, was without power.
Preliminary investigations show that more than $50m of damage has been caused by the fire so far.
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