Smoking was the root cause of the major fire at the munitions depot in the Melitopol District of the Zaporozhye Region, southern Ukraine, the country's Emergencies Minister Grigory Reva said at the session of the Supreme Rada (parliament).
"Contrary to manual provisions and fire safety rules, servicemen smoked in the depot, which caused the fire and the explosion of munitions," said Mr. Reva. According to him, the fire has not been put out yet. The losses of the Ukrainian Defense Minister are assessed at 2,252 mln hryvni (about $425 mln) and of the people, at 1,496 mln hryvni ($282 mln).
The fire began at the army depot in the Melitopol District, where over 90,000 tons of artillery shells (including for multiple launch rocket systems) about noon local time on May 6. In the first few hours, explosions went off every two or three seconds, with fragments and unexploded shells flying to a distance of 10-40 km.
To prevent the loss of life, about 7,000 people were evacuated from the nearly 11 settlements. One died of a fragmentation wound and four of cardiovascular attacks and four people received injuries of different grade of gravity.