The fire has been extinguished at the Surmalu shopping center in Yerevan, but small fires flare up from time to time. Armen Pambukhchyan, the Minister of Emergency Situations of Armenia, informed reporters about this Monday morning.
He noted that some of the firework materials are still in the area, as a result of which fires break out on a regular basis.
"Also, there was a lot of plastic material in the warehouse [where the explosion occurred]; it is constantly burning. It is normal that it may take several days; we are ready for it", he added.
The minister said that the search, rescue, and firefighting operations are continuing.
"The fire breaks out only in the warehouse area; it is extinguished in the rest. This visible smoke is steam. Also, we are carrying out cleaning works, oxygen passes through, and it can cause smoke a little," he said.
Pambukhchyan said that 15 people were found as a result of search and rescue operations, 23 people are receiving medical treatment, and 18 others are still being searched for.
"We have their information, we know whether they were visitors or employees of the [shopping] mart," he added.
The minister noted that about 70 rescuers are working at the scene.
"In total, seven rescuers had received various injuries, two of them were hospitalized, the others received medical assistance at the scene," he said.
We reported earlier that at 1:23pm on Sunday, the National Crisis Management Center received a report that an explosion had occurred at the Surmalu shopping center in Yerevan. According to preliminary data, there was an explosion and an ensuing fire. There are six casualties, and the number of injured exceeds sixty.
Criminal proceedings have been launched into this strong explosion.