There were also flammable materials on the upper floors of the building, the head of the emergency service said.

It would not be correct to set a date for the end of the search operations, because it takes a long time to remove each reinforced concrete structure hanging from the three-storey building. Armen Gasparyan, director of Armenia’s rescue service, told reporters about it on Friday.

“Given that the missing citizen was at the epicenter of the explosion and a high temperature fire started after the explosion, it will be very difficult for us. We use sophisticated equipment to be able to work in these conditions. First, we must ensure the safety of our rescuers. There is always a risk in the case of this three-storey building because it is in a dilapidated state and could collapse at any moment,” Gasparyan said.

According to him, the more the work progresses, the more the hearths under the rubble, which at first glance may seem extinct, give off smoke during the cleaning work, which is why cooling is done regularly.

When asked if there might be flammable materials inside the building as well, on the upper floors, Gasparyan replied: “According to our information, there were also flammable materials on the upper floors; there were a warehouse [there]. The survey will answer the rest of the questions.”

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