A powerful explosion ripped through a warehouse on the grounds of a factory that has made optical gear for the Russian military outside Moscow on Wednesday, officials said, killing one person, injuring dozens and sending up an enormous plume of smoke visible for miles.
Local officials said the blast tore apart a warehouse storing “pyrotechnics” located at the Zagorsk Optical-Mechanical Plant in the town of Sergiyev Posad, less than 50 miles from Moscow. Along with the person killed, at least 50 people were injured, some seriously, according to information posted by local authorities on the social messaging app Telegram.
Security camera footage captured the moment of the explosion at the warehouse, with the blast sending a mushroom cloud hundreds of feet into the sky. The explosion blew out windows in schools, in a sports complex and in about 20 nearby apartment buildings, according to the local government administration.
Local authorities are investigating what caused the blast.
The Zagorsk facility is one of the oldest optical-mechanical plants in Russia. The company is a leading developer of optical devices for Russian security services, according to the Russian state news agency Tass.
Andrey Vorobyev, the governor of the Moscow region, said in a video posted on Telegram by state news media that the plant had not manufactured optical devices “for a long time.” However, when a fire broke out at the factory in June 2022 — one of many mysterious blazes reported across Russia since the war began — though Russian media reports suggested the facility was still in use.
Mr. Vorobyev said that Piro-Ross, a private company that produces pyrotechnics, had been renting the warehouse space at the plant. Public records show that Piro-Ross declared bankruptcy last year.
Russian officials have on multiple occasions dismissed credible reports of attacks damaging military or other targets inside Russia since the Kremlin ordered the invasion of Ukraine.
Russia’s Federal Investigative Committee said in a statement on Telegram that it was looking into the possible “violation of industrial safety requirements.”
“We are looking into the causes of the blast,” Dmitry Akulov, the head of the district, wrote on Telegram. The authorities ordered a “total evacuation” of all plant buildings and workshops, and the entire town of Sergiyev Posad has entered a state of emergency, local officials said.
Five more people could be buried under the rubble, Mr. Vorobyev said.
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