Blast at Russian explosives factory injures 79
A factory explosion in the Russian city of Dzerzhinsk has injured 79 people and damaged 180 homes nearby on Saturday, 1 June 2019. City officials say that the factory was used to produce and store high-explosive bombs for the military. They add that the processing facility at the JSC Kristall Research Institute plant has been completely destroyed by the blast. A factory official says five people were inside at the time but they were safely evacuated. Most of the people who were hurt were cut by flying glass from the explosion, which also caused a shockwave that smashed windows in homes and other factories in the city.
Dzerzhinsk city officials have declared an emergency in the surrounding areas, while the Investigative Committee of Russia says it has launched a criminal investigation into potential safety violations at the plant.
A local health ministry statement says, "According to the latest information, 79 people asked for medical help after the explosion at Kristall: 38 factory workers and 41 residents of the city. There are no children among the injured." It adds that 15 people were hospitalised but no one had died. Earlier, a local health official said that most victims were suffering from "shrapnel wounds of mild and moderate severity".
An emergency rescue operation in the town of Dzerzhinsk, where several explosions took place at the Kristall explosives factory, was completed, head of the Main Directorate for the Nizhny Novgorod Region of the Russian Emergencies Ministry Valery Sinkov told journalists on the site on Saturday. "The emergency rescue operation has been completed. Now work is in place to remove the effects linked to the damage of buildings and evaluate the situation," he said. About 800 square metres were scorched by fire and damaged and many windows were smashed in town buildings, Sinkov said.
He also reported that the number of first responders operating on the accident site was reduced due to the end of the operation. "The equipment and the group were partially removed from the site. There were 700 people and almost 150 vehicles there," he said, not specifying the current number of people and equipment that will be involved in the further efforts to remove the effects of the accident.
Officials said it was a "technical explosion" in one of the workshops, which caused a fire of around 100 square metres.
Last August three people died in another factory blast in Dzerzhinsk, in central Russia, which is believed to be one of the world's most polluted cities.