A deadly explosion and fire at an ammunition disposal plant in Russia’s western Ryazan province on Friday killed at least 16 people. One employee was taken to hospital with serious injuries after the accident and died there. He sustained burns of 80% of his skin’s surface. The explosion occurred in the village of Lesnoy in Shilovsky District, about 270 kilometres southeast of Moscow. Officials believe the fire started at one of the plant’s gunpowder workshops, at the FGUP “Elastik” plant. Some 170 emergency service personnel and 50 vehicles were attending the scene, officials said. Firefighters and rescue teams are working at the site. A video that circulated on social media on Friday allegedly shows the moment the explosion occurred, with a yellow fireball rising into the air from the brick building. The deputy governor of the Ryazan region, Dmitry Filippov, and acting Emergency Situations Minister Aleksandr Chuprian have also arrived at the scene.
The ministry said there was no threat to the general population living nearby. Regional Governor Nikolay Lubimov declared October 25 a day of mourning in the Ryazan region, which lies to the southeast of Moscow, for those killed in the blast. Lubimov said he would recommend that authorities carry out unscheduled inspections at such facilities. In this case the plant’s compliance with safety standards for hazardous production facilities will be checked. A “violation of the technology process” or a short circuit is supposed. The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation said a criminal investigation into the explosion was launched.