The US Embassy in Armenia has expressed its condolences on the tragic death of 15 servicemen as a result of a fire at a military unit in Gegharkunik Province. Chip Laitinen, Charge d'affaires of the US Embassy in Armenia, issued a statement in this regard on Thursday.
“On behalf of the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan, I wish to express our deepest condolences for the tragic loss of the Armenian servicemen who died as a result of a fire at an Armenian military base today and hope for swift recovery for those injured. We hold in our thoughts those who perished, as well as those who mourn their loss during this difficult time,” reads the condolence message.
At around 1:30am on Thursday, a fire broke out—under still unknown circumstances—in the accommodation of the engineer-sapper troop of the military unit located in the territory of Azat village of Armenia’s Gegharkunik Province. Fifteen servicemen have died as a result of this fire, and seven others are injured.
Immediately after the incident, the commander of the 2nd Army Corps and seven other high-ranking military personnel were relieved of their positions.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said at Thursday’s Cabinet meeting of the government that an officer had poured gasoline in the stove of the aforesaid accommodation. After which, when the fire had gotten to him, he had thrown—with a self-protective instinct—the 5-liter can of gasoline in his hand towards the accommodation, and this had caused the fire.
Criminal proceedings have been launched into this incident.