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Powerful explosion causes fire near airport in Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Despite the incident, flights at the Tashkent International Airport appeared to be taking off and landing as normal. (Wikimedia Commons pic)

TASHKENT: A fire caused by a powerful explosion at a warehouse near Tashkent’s airport had been contained and the situation was under control, Uzbekistan’s emergency situations ministry (FVV) said on Thursday.

The cause of the explosion was unclear, with one report of “strong lightning” and there had been no reports of injuries or deaths. The ministry said a “special laboratory” had been set up at the scene to investigate the explosion.

“As a result of the quick actions of FVV employees, the area of the fire is being reduced,” the ministry said on the Telegram messaging app. “The situation is completely under control”.

Video and photographs on social media showed flames soaring into the night sky and a huge cloud of smoke.

Flights at Tashkent International Airport appeared to be taking off and landing as normal, data from flight tracking website FlightRadar24 showed.

A notice to airmen issued at 3.15am on Wednesday said a runway at the airport would be closed for takeoff and landing between 7am and 12pm on Thursday, but a segment would be available for taxiing. It did not provide a reason.

According to a post on social media from Uzbek media outlet Daryo, 16 fire and rescue crews were sent to fight the fire at one of the warehouses located in the city’s Sergeli district near the airport