Nineteen injured in blast at Russian explosives plant

Nineteen injured in blast at Russian explosives plant

Officials in the central Russian city of Dzerzhinsk have declared an emergency after a series of blasts rocked an explosives factory. "There are no children among the injured", a health ministry statement said.

Dzerzhinsk is close to the city of Nizhny Novgorod, about 400 km (250 miles) east of Moscow.

According to TASS news agency, 27 people requested medical help after the blasts, the local health ministry said.

A factory official says five people were inside at the time of the blast, and they had been safely evacuated.

It adds that 15 people were hospitalised, but no one had died.

The city of Dzerzhinsk has declared an emergency in the areas surrounding the plant, while the Investigative Committee of Russian Federation has launched a criminal investigation over an alleged violation of safety rules.

On Saturday, several explosions, presumably, of ammunition, occurred in a shop floor at the Kristall plant, after which a fire broke out. Residents in nearby buildings were told to keep their windows closed.

Images on social media showed a large cloud of smoke after the explosion.

A local deputy governor told Rossiya 24 TV channel that two people went missing after the blasts but later he said that the information had not been confirmed.

"There was a technical explosion in one of the workshops, followed by a fire of around 100 square meters", a spokesman for the local emergency service reported.

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