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A Number of Circumstances of Fire Broken out in Dwelling of Field-Engineer Company of Unit N and Servicemen’s Death Found out

19.01.2023 23:51

As it was already informed a criminal proceeding was initiated in General Military Investigative Department of the RA Investigative Committee according to the Part 4 of the Article 532 of RA Criminal Code on the case of fire broken out in the dwelling intended for the staff of the field-engineer company of the unit N located in the village of Azat of Gegharkunik province, servicemen’s death caused by it, receiving bodily injuries of several gravities by several servicemen on January 19, 2023 at about 01:30.

Within the framework of the criminal proceeding actions directed to find out the circumstances of the tragedy, particularly the cause of the fire, causes of the servicemen’s death, the state of compliance with fire prevention rules in the dwelling, the frame of those responsible, their actions, as well as at giving legal assessment to the possible inactivity have been conducted.

In the night of January 19 shortly after the accident the inspection of the scene started and continued until the first half of the day by the investigators and expert. As a result, numerous items of significance to the criminal proceeding have been found and taken. A number of eye-witnesses have been questioned. 

As of this moment, a number of significant circumstances of the case have been found out through the investigative, procedural actions, among them testimonies of the eye-witnesses.

Particularly, pursuant to initial data, the field-engineer company of the unit N of the RA Ministry of Defense has been located in one of the houses of the village of Axat of Gegharkunik province since May 13, 2021. The house consisted of a hall and two rooms one of which was used as an arsenal, the other – as a barrack where bunk military beds had been installed. The house was heated through a wood hearth which was in the hall.

On January 18, 2023 the officer captain of the engineering service was appointed as a responsible person for the field-engineer company and performed his duty in the mentioned dwelling. On 18 January, 2023 at about 18:00 finishing the work assigned to them the staff of the field-engineer company returned to the mentioned dwelling and went to bed starting from 21:30. On 19 January, 2023 at about 00:40 the main part of the staff was in the barrack sleeping and 2 serviceman drivers had gone to fetch water from the spring. The person on duty for the day was in the kitchen located not far from the dwelling and was speaking on the phone. Meanwhile the captain responsible for the company asked the serviceman on duty if there was petrol for refueling the starting device (starter) of engineering equipment at the parking lot in order to light the hearth and learnt about its availability. Then he tried to light the hearth with petrol in 5 liter plastic container.

This circumstance, that at that area there had been 10 5 liter plastic containers, is also stated by the testimonies given by the witnesses whereas through inspection of the scene 9 containers were found.

After filling the hearth with gasoline, a flame broke out as a result of which the captain responsible for the company, receiving burns, mechanically threw the container full of petrol aside which fell in the dwelling. Then with another serviceman, who also received burns, he could hardly leave the dwelling.

As a result of the rapid spread of the fire throughout the area of the dwelling, the servicemen could not leave through the entrance of the dwelling however the servicemen, who were outside, managed to help 2 servicemen leave the barrack.

One of the serviceman drivers who was outside hit the wall of the dwelling twice with a vehicle of “Ural” make in order to open a hole and to bring the fellow servicemen out of the dwelling as a result of which a certain part of the wall was broken. However, as the fire was spread very rapidly they could not bring the other servicemen out of the dwelling. As a result, 15 servicemen died. Their bodies were brought out after the fire had been extinguished.

Within the criminal proceeding decisions were made to find a victim and to take samples, forensic medical expertise of the body, forensic genetic expertise were commissioned.

Preliminary investigation is ongoing. All measures will be taken within the framework of the proceeding to fully receive the answers of the questions of public interest as well. For that purpose, the publications containing specificity related to the case will also become a subject of investigation.

The RA Investigative Committee will regularly provide information about the course and results of the criminal proceeding.

Note; Everyone charged with alleged crime offence shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.

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