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At Least Four Killed In Explosion At Fireworks Factory Outside St. Petersburg


At least four people died and several more were injured on October 19 in an explosion at a fireworks factory outside St. Petersburg, Russian authorities said.

The explosion occurred at the Avangard factory in Gatchina, a town 25 kilometers south of the second-largest Russian city, regional authorities said on October 20.

Russian state-run TASS news agency cited an emergency services source as saying three of the four people killed were foreigners, including at least one Belarusian national.

Authorities initially said two people died and several more were injured. But TASS later quoted emergency services officials as saying two more bodies were pulled from the rubble at the factory.

Conflicting sources put the number of injured as between three and seven people, including a 13-year-old girl who was hospitalized after breathing in fumes from the fire that broke out after the explosion.

The regional Investigative Committee launched a probe into breaches of safety rules at the factory.

TASS reported that a criminal case had been initiated related to possible safety rules violations and that the plant's chief engineer has been detained.

Based on reporting by AFP, TASS, and Interfax