Fire 'catastrophe' Destroys 100 Fuel Tankers On Afghanistan-Iran Border


Fire 'catastrophe' destroys 100 fuel tankers on Afghanistan-Iran border

Islam Qala, Afghanistan, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 14th Feb, 2021 ) :At least 100 oil and gas tankers have been destroyed by fire in a "catastrophe" at Afghanistan's biggest trade crossing with Iran, causing millions of Dollars of losses, officials said Sunday.

The huge blaze, which broke out Saturday afternoon at islam Qala port 120 kilometres (75 miles) from the western city of Herat, has largely been extinguished and an investigation launched into its cause.

"We were told that 100 or 200 tankers have been destroyed, but this number could be higher," Jailani Farhad, spokesman for the governor of Herat province, said after visiting the scene.

During the blaze looters descended on the site, stealing goods that were being imported and exported across the border, Younus Qazi Zada, the head of the Herat Chamber of Commerce said.

"The catastrophe was much bigger than imagined," he said, adding: "Unfortunately, irresponsible people have looted a large number of goods." Qazi Zada said initial estimates were of "millions of dollars of losses".

Farhad added that investigators needed more time to examine the extent of the losses.

Videos posted on social media on Saturday night showed the towering fire and huge clouds of thick black smoke billowing into the sky.

An AFP photographer at the scene on Sunday said flames and smoke were still rising from the burned-out trucks.

Hundreds of people who say they are the owners of the trucks have gathered at a nearby police cordon, trying to get access.

Around 20 people were injured in the fire, according to Herat health officials.

The finance ministry said early findings suggested the blaze started in a tanker before quickly spreading and causing "heavy financial losses" -- including fuel, tankers and customs facilities.

A delegation from the capital Kabul will investigate.

Damage to power lines from the incident left large parts of Herat province without power on Sunday.

On Sunday, Afghan and Iranian fire services were at the scene extinguishing small remaining blazes.