UPDATE - Death toll from explosion in Russia's Caucasian Dagestan region rises to 35

UPDATE - Death toll from explosion in Russia's Caucasian Dagestan region rises to 35

Explosion at gas station in city of Makhachkala causes massive fire, says official

UPDATES WITH MORE CASUALTIES; REVISES HEADLINE, DECK, LEDE

By Elena Teslova

MOSCOW (AA) – The death toll from a powerful explosion at a gas station in Russia’s Caucasian Dagestan region rose to 35, with 115 others injured, the country’s Health Ministry said.

Bodies of five more victims were found during the clearance of the debris at the site of the incident in the city of Makhachkala, a ministry statement said.

The condition of 11 people, including two children, is said to be "serious," it added.

The explosion, which occurred on Monday evening, caused a major fire, which spread to an area of more than 600 square meters (6,458 square feet), region's Governor Sergey Melikov said in a statement.

“The cause and nature of the explosion are being established. According to preliminary data, the tanks standing in front of the gas station detonated, resulting in a fire,” he said.

The governor announced an emergency in the Kumtorkalin district where the incident took place.

More than 70 people with fire-extinguishing equipment were involved in dousing the fire.

Dagestan's authorities also announced a day of mourning following the incident.

A criminal case has been opened on the provision of services that do not meet security requirements.

Russian President Vladimir Putin offered condolences to the relatives of victims and conveyed wishes of speedy recovery to those injured.

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