Several explosions rocked an explosives plant in the central Russian city of Dzerzhinsk, according to RT.
"A big explosion roared, my ears popped and then sirens went off. In a minute, there was another blast, windows shattered, and a column of smoke rose, and there was fire," one witness told RT.
The facilities damaged in the blast are part of Russia's scientific and research institute ‘Kristall’. It specializes in scientific and technological support for work related to the production of explosive materials and devises its safety measures.
This is the third blast suffered by the TNT-maker over the past year. Last August, five workers were killed in an explosion at the site, and in April an explosion destroyed a one-story building but caused no injuries. -RT
At least 79 people were injured with 16 hospitalized, while nearly 200 buildings were damaged. Authorities report that 38 plant employees and four local residents were among the injured, and were treated for burns and glass cuts.
A first explosion triggered two other blasts at the same facility and then fire. Five buildings were destroyed at the plant and 200 others were damaged throughout the city. People saw their windows shattered and ceiling coverings collapse.
More than 300 people and 50 technical units were involved in the response to the blast. It took firefighters several hours to extinguish the blaze that covered 800 square meters. -RT
A criminal investigation has been launched into the explosions.