A person has been detained in connection with the tragic fire that broke out in the accommodation of the platoon of an Armenian military unit on January 19. Gor Abrahamyan, spokesperson of the Investigative Committee of Armenia, told Armenian News-NEWS.am about this.
"The head of the rear and the deputy commander in charge of the rear and utility operation service has been detained, against whom the prosecutor's office has started a criminal prosecution and was transferred to the Investigative Committee. Investigative operations are underway," said Abrahamyan.
Earlier we reported that on Wednesday, the prosecutor supervising the legality of the pretrial criminal proceedings decided to initiate a public criminal prosecution against G.A., the deputy commander of the rear of the aforesaid military unit of the Republic of Armenia (RA) Ministry of Defense and the deputy in charge of the utility operation service, pursuant to Section 3 (military official negligence, which negligently caused the death of a person) of Article 550 of the RA Criminal Code.
The Prosecutor General's Office informs Armenian News-NEWS.am that as a result of investigative and other operational actions taken during the preliminary investigation of the criminal proceedings being investigated in the 5th Garrison Investigation Department of the Military Investigative General Department of the Investigative Committee, sufficient facts were obtained that the head of the rear of the aforesaid military unit, the commander's deputy in charge of the rear and utility operation service, being the commander (chief) and an official, being responsible for the organization and condition of fire protection in the military unit did not fulfill his duties, including in the direction of providing the aforementioned platoon with appropriate means of fire protection; as a result, carelessly caused the death of people.
During the preliminary investigation, it was found that on January 19, after midnight, an officer of the aforesaid platoon, being the person in charge of the boarding area, in violation of the established order, lit the stove of the accommodation of this platoon with gasoline, as a result of which a fire broke out in the accommodation. Due to the lack of respective fire protection measures, it was not only not possible for the servicemen in the accommodation to put out the fire, but also, in the absence of a backup exit, to break the iron bars attached to the windows of the accommodation and get out. As a result, this platoon’s 15 conscript soldiers, who were resting in the accommodation, died, and the officer and four other conscripts sustained physical injuries of varying degrees.
The investigation is in progress.
At around 1:30am on January 19, a fire broke out in the accommodation of the engineering-sapper platoon 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 were injured. Four of them were discharged from the Vardenis town hospital after receiving medical treatment, whereas three others with severe burns were transported to National Center of Burns and Dermatology in the capital Yerevan.
Immediately after the incident, the commander of the 2nd Army Corps and seven other high-ranking military personnel were relieved of their positions.
A few hours after the incident, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said at the 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.
But later, the platoon commander told reporters that there was no gasoline in the accommodation, essentially refuting the PM. The Military Prosecutor also stated that it is not yet clear whether it was gasoline or diesel fuel.
Criminal proceedings have been launched into this incident.