Blast rocks fireworks warehouse in Kyrgyz capital

BISHKEK, Aug 4, 2011 (AFP) - A series of blasts rocked a warehouse storing fireworks in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek on Thursday, the emergencies service said, injuring at least one person and sending plumes of smoke over the city.

The warehouse was located near an open-air market which was was full of people during the afternoon incident, with rescue officials saying they were still inspecting the site and searching for potential casualties.

"We are trying to determine if nearby apartment buildings have been damaged," the head of the emergencies ministry's fire service Daniyal Tairov told AFP.

It was not immediately clear what caused the initial explosion, which sparked a fire which was later extinguished.

Officials said blasts could still be heard coming from the warehouse after the last flames went out.

The incident occurred a month after another blast at what officials said was a fireworks warehouse killed 15 people in the nearby Central Asian republic of Turkmenistan.

Turkmen officials said the fireworks fire then spread to a neighbouring munitions depot, dismissing opposition claims that hundreds may have died in the blasts.

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