The Investigative Committee has presented new details regarding the fatal fire that took place in the accommodation of the engineer-sapper troop of the military unit located in Azat village of Gegharkunik Province of the Republic of Armenia (RA).
"On the night of January 19, shortly after the incident, investigators and an expert began and continued until the first half of the day the inspection of the incident site. During them, many objects of importance for the criminal proceedings were found and taken.
A number of eyewitnesses were questioned.
In particular, according to the preliminary data received, the engineer-sapper troop of the N military unit of the RA MOD [(Ministry of Defense)] has been stationed in one of the houses of Azat village of Gegharkunik Province since May 13, 2021.
The house consisted of a hall and two rooms, one of which served as an armory, and the other—as a barracks where two-story military beds were placed. The house was heated by a wood stove, which was installed in the hall.
On January 18, 2023, the engineer service officer of the military unit, the captain, was appointed in charge of the engineer-sapper troop and performed his service in the mentioned accommodation.
On 19.01.2023, around 00:40, the main part of the staff was in the barracks, sleeping, and 2 conscript soldier drivers went to fetch water from the spring. The duty officer of the day was in the kitchen not far from the accommodation and was talking on a mobile phone. During that time, the captain in charge of the troop asked the conscript soldier on duty and informed him about the presence of automotive gasoline intended for refueling the starting equipment (starter) of the engineering equipment in the parking lot in order to light the stove. Then he tried to light the stove with automotive gasoline in a plastic container with a capacity of 5 liters.
After filling the stove with automotive gasoline, a flame broke out, as a result of which the captain in charge, receiving burns, mechanically threw the container full of automotive gasoline in his hand to one side, which fell into the accommodation, then with another conscript who was in the superior order of the day, who also received burns, they somehow managed to get out of the accommodation.
As a result of the rapid spread of the fire throughout the area of the accommodation, the servicemen could not leave through the entrance of the accommodation, but the mandatory conscript servicemen outside were able to help 2 conscript servicemen to get out of the barracks.
One of the conscript servicemen drivers outside hit the wall of the accommodation twice with an Ural vehicle in order to open a hole and get his fellow servicemen out, as a result of which a certain part of the wall was destroyed. However, due to the rapid spread of the fire, they could not get the other servicemen in the accommodation out, as a result of which 15 conscript servicemen died. Their bodies were taken out after the fire was extinguished.
With the initiated criminal proceedings, decisions have made to recognize as victim and obtain a sample, forensic medical examinations of the corpse, forensic genetic examinations have been ordered," the statement of the Investigative Committee notes, in particular.