15 June 2005 (RFE/RL) -- An explosion and fire tore through an oil-storage facility near Moscow today, killing two people and seriously injuring a third.
Emergency Situations Ministry spokesman Viktor Beltsov said that according to initial reports, the blast ripped through a laboratory at the Noginsk storage facility some 70 kilometers from Moscow. The reason for the blast was unknown.
Prosecutors have launched criminal proceedings for suspected breach of safety regulations.
Those killed were staff at the Noginsk facility. A third worker was taken to hospital with serious injuries. Nearly 300 people from a nearby maternity hospital and a residential building were evacuated briefly.
It took five hours for hundreds of firefighters, backed by helicopters, to put out the fire.
Interfax quoted Emergency Situations Ministry officials as saying some 200 people have been evacuated from a nearby maternity ward and an apartment block some 300 meters from the facility.