A strong explosion tore through a popular market in Armenia's capital, killing at least one person, injuring 36 others and setting off a large fire.
The early afternoon blast from a fireworks storage area at Surmalu market in Yerevan on Sunday sent a towering column of smoke over the centre of the capital.
Rescue workers and volunteers in civilian clothes searched for victims who might be trapped under slabs of concrete and twisted metal.
An Associated Press reporter at the scene saw two people pulled from the rubble, a woman with an injured leg and a young man who appeared to be unconscious. Emergencies Minister Armen Pambukhchyan said two sisters were pulled alive from the rubble.
Fireworks continued to explode as the firemen and rescuers worked amid thick smoke.
The market, about two kilometres south of city centre, is popular for its low prices and variety of goods.
There was no immediate word on what caused the fireworks to ignite.
A spokesman for the emergency services ministry, Aik Kostanyan, said the casualty toll stood at one person killed and 36 injured, but it was not clear if anyone remained under the rubble. The health ministry said 26 people had been taken to the hospital; 11 of them are minors.
Australian Associated Press
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