A massive explosion rocked a factory in the Moscow region on Wednesday, injuring dozens and shattering windows in nearby buildings, local officials said.
The district administration said in a post on Telegram that at least 45 people were injured and six are in intensive care as a result of the explosion that occurred at the Zagorsk Optomechanical Factory in the city of Sergiev Posad, northeast of the Russian capital.
Videos of the explosion identified by NBC News show a huge plume of smoke billowing over the plant. One photo, taken by nearby residents and posted on social media, shows the moment a huge fire explosion occurred behind a parking garage.
The accident occurred around 10:40 a.m. local time (3:40 a.m. ET) in a fireworks depot rented on the factory’s grounds by a “private company,” Moscow Region Governor Andrei Vorobyov said on Telegram.
Russia’s Federal Investigative Agency said it had opened a criminal investigation into the incident, citing “violation of industrial safety requirements for hazardous production facilities,” but said it was trying to determine the cause of the explosion.
The governor said emergency services were now running through the rubble at the factory, which was evacuated along with a nearby kindergarten.
Russia’s state news agency TASS quoted the Health Ministry as saying that three people were rescued from the rubble and were in serious condition.
Vorobyov added that people living in nearby houses had their windows shattered by the blast, and a nearby sports complex was also partially damaged.
Vorobyov did not say what caused the explosion, but Russian state media reported, citing emergency officials, that a “human factor” was behind the blast. Local deputy Sergei Pakhomov also said that “violation of technological processes” was to blame, without elaborating.
Russian state media reported that the plant makes optical devices for law enforcement agencies and civilian use.
The blast comes amid an unprecedented number of drone attacks on the Russian capital and surrounding area that the Kremlin has blamed on Ukraine.
Early Wednesday, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin reported that two drones had been shot down by air defense systems over the capital. He said there was no information about injuries.
Vorobyov said in reports at the scene of the explosion that investigators have not yet confirmed whether a drone was involved in the accident.
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