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Oil depot fire in Ukraine may cause acid rain — environmentalist

June 09, 2015, 17:14 UTC+3 KIEV
The fire, leaving one person dead and at least 14 injured, was spewing toxic fumes into the atmosphere
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KIEV, June 9. /TASS/. Acid rain may fall in Ukraine and some European countries following a fuel depot fire outside Kiev, a Ukrainian environmentalist said on Tuesday.

"Acid rain may damage crops and forests. It can fall anywhere, even in Berlin," said Volodymyr Boreiko, heading a Kiev environmental center.

According to him, the fire, leaving one person dead and at least 14 injured, was spewing toxic fumes into the atmosphere. "This may cause lung diseases and even cancer," he said.

Fire at oil depot in Ukraine

The fire broke out on Monday evening at the BRSM-Nafta oil depot some 30 kilometers (19 miles) from Kiev. Three firefighters are reported missing.

Three out of 17 tanks currently keep burning at the depot. Other tanks had been destroyed, emergencies officials said.

Mykola Chechetkin, the head of the Ukrainian state emergencies service, said the firefighting effort could take another 24 hours.

The spread of fire to a nearby forest has been stopped.

The situation "is under total control and there is no direct threat to people, however, the danger of new explosions remains," Chechetkin said.

Ukrainian Defence Minister Stepan Poltorak said the ammunition had been removed from a military facility located 50 metres from the edge of fire.

The ministry is also working to evacuate the facility’s aircraft to places of safety.

An aide to the Ukrainian interior minister, Anton Gerashchenko told 112 Ukraine TV channel that some 500 national guards had cordoned off the depot "to prevent local residents from approaching the fire area."

Oleksandr Turchinov, the head of the Ukrainian National Security Council, said earlier that the evacuation had started from the area within a two kilometer radius from the fire.

"There is no danger of the fire spreading to the military facility and a nearby oil depot," he said adding that rescuers would not evacuate people from the ten-kilometer zone.

Turchninov said the fire could have been caused by the violation of safety rules.

Meanwhile, Statoil, a retail operator of BRSM-Nafta, said a terrorist attack or an arson were not ruled out.

Ukraine’s TSN channel reported there was no panic in the neighbouring villages of Krachki and Kobtsy, however, their residents have been offered to leave the area themselves.

Many people do not hurry to leave as they do not know where to go, TSN said.

The Russian Emergencies Ministry offered its help to extinguish the fire earlier on Tuesday saying it had "enormous experience and special equipment for such accidents.".

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