Fifteen soldiers died in a fire that broke out in the barracks of an Armenian military formation, the republic’s Defense Ministry reported on Thursday.
"According to preliminary information, 15 military servicemen died in the fire that broke out in the barracks of an engineer and sniper company of the Defense Ministry’s military unit N and the condition of three other servicemen is assessed as severe," the statement reads.
Firefighting are extinguishing the fire at the scene. The military unit is stationed near the village of Azat in the Gegharkunik region of Armenia.
As the Armenian Defense Ministry reported, the fire was put out on Thursday morning and the building completely burnt out on an area of 104 square meters.
"The three injured soldiers were taken to the Vardenis medical center with burns of various degree of severity," the ministry said.
As the republic’s Public TV Channel reported, citing its sources, the Defense Ministry has decided to dismiss the commander of the 2nd army corps over the tragedy.
The fire in the barracks of the engineer and sniper company that claimed the lives of 15 Armenian soldiers broke out after gasoline was used to heat the premises, which is prohibited by rules, Armenian Defense Minister Suren Papikyan told a Cabinet meeting on Thursday.
"According to preliminary data, prohibited motor gasoline was used for the purposes of heating the barracks," he said.
As many as seven Armenian soldiers were injured in the fire. Armenia’s Investigative Committee has opened a criminal case to investigate the causes of the tragedy.