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Armenian Political Rally Ends in Disaster as Cigarette Seemingly Sparks Giant Balloon Fireball

"The balloons were supposed to be filled with helium but may have instead been filled with methane..."

Hundreds of gas-filled balloons caught fire during a crowded political rally in Armenia's capital on Friday, after, authorities believe, someone's cigarette touched just one of them.

While 140 people were injured, many say it's a miracle no one was killed.

The Arizona Daily Star elaborates:

The balloons were supposed to be filled with helium but may have instead been filled with methane, said Aghasi Yenokyan, director of the Center for Political and International Studies, a Yerevan-based think tank.

The incident occurred in downtown Republic Square during events organized by the ruling Republican Party of Armenia as part of the parliamentary election campaign.

During the concert, teenagers were holding hundreds of balloons when they suddenly exploded in a huge ball of fire.


"At first I thought that it was part of the show when I saw a huge halo of fire over the crowd in front of the stage, but then I saw people running and screaming," said Yelena Manukyan, a 36-year-old office manager. "On some of them, the clothes were burned and they were holding their hands over their heads and faces."

Fragments of burned balloons flew in all directions over the dense crowd and caused burns to many people, Manukyan said.

Watch the shocking video, below:

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