A big explosion has hit Saturday afternoon one of Russia’s major gas pipelines belonging to Gazprom Transgaz SPB, between Berngardovka and Kovalevo, about 14 miles east of St Petersburg. The fireball was visible for miles in every direction. Thick plumes of smoke were visible for miles around the scene close to Putin’s home city of St Petersburg. Emergency vehicles including ambulances were rushed to the scene. The major blast did not hit close to residential areas, and there are no initial reports of casualties coming out of Russia. “Firefighters and rescuers extinguish a fire caused by a gas pipeline depressurization between Berngardovka and Kovalevo,” Gov. Alexander Drozdenko said on Telegram. “There is no threat to the population and the spread of fire to residential areas.”
The blast caused disruption to the Severnaya Thermal Power Plant, which heats hundreds of thousands of homes. The power plant has been “switched” to supply oil instead of gas. Russia’s Ministry of Emergency Situations said the explosion was likely the result of “depressurization” in pipeline. No suggestion of sabotage has been mentioned. Witnesses have posted photos and videos to social media. Two teams are currently working to extinguish the fire. Local authorities said that the fire was under control.