Firefighters battle Afghan-Iran border blaze for a 2nd day

Firefighters struggle for a second day to battle a massive fire that began when a fuel tanker exploded at a major crossing in Afghanistan’s western Herat province on the Iranian border, officials say.

At least 20 people were injured and many of the more than 500 trucks lined up at the Islam Qala crossing carrying natural gas and fuel are still ablaze, according to Afghan officials and Iranian state media.

Two explosions at the border crossing were powerful enough to be spotted from space by NASA satellites. One blast erupted around 1:10 p.m. Afghan time (0840 GMT), the next around a half-hour later at 1:42 p.m. local (0912 GMT).

Herat provincial Gov. Wahid Qatali says first responders were quickly overwhelmed Saturday by the huge, out-of-control fire. “When each cylinder was exploding it was flying 100s of meters high,” he says.

A fire caused by burning oil tankers is seen after an explosion at the Islam Qala border with Iran, in Herat Province, west of Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021 (AP Photo/Hamed Sarfarazi)
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