An Emergency Ministry spokesman, Viktor Beltsov, says the blast occurred at a factory belonging to Russia's largest PVC manufacturer, Sayanskchimplast, located in Sayansk, in Irkutsk Oblast. The explosion took place during the production of ethylene dichloride, a highly toxic chemical.
Beltsov added that the chemical's release into the air "represented no danger" to residents.
An investigation has been launched into the cause of the blast.
(ITAR-TASS, Interfax, AFP)