A massive explosion rocked an industrial plant in northeast Moscow that develops devices for the Russian military, killing one person and injuring at least 55 others, officials said.  

The blast, which occurred around 10:40 a.m. local time, obliterated a warehouse at the site of Zagorsk Optical-Mechanical Plant, state news agency TASS reported.

The plant, located in the town of Sergiev Posad about 30 miles northeast of downtown Moscow, produces optical and medical equipment for industrial and healthcare applications, as well as for the Russian security forces, according to its website.

The 17,200-square-foot warehouse that was struck had been leased by a private pyrotechnics company called “Pyro-Ross,” TASS reported.

The powerful detonation sent a towering mushroom cloud of thick black smoke rising into the overcast morning sky and blew out windows in nearby high-rise buildings.

The impact damaged 38 apartment complexes and an athletic center — and prompted the evacuation of the surrounding area.


A mushroom cloud of black smoke rises over the Zagorsk optics and electronics manufacturing plant in Sergiev Posad, Russia, following an explosion Wednesday.
A mushroom cloud of black smoke rises over the Zagorsk optics and electronics manufacturing plant in Sergiev Posad, Russia, following an explosion Wednesday.
ZUMAPRESS.com

Smoke rises after an explosion in Sergiyev Posad, Russia, August 9, 2023, in this screen grab obtained from a social media video.
The blast happened inside a warehouse containing fireworks on the grounds of the plant, located 30 miles outside Moscow.
bigkurs.ru via REUTERS

Fifty-six people have been injured, with 30 of the victims requiring hospitalization, reported TASS.

Six of the victims were rushed to intensive care, where one of them died. The woman, identified as 45-year-old Natalia Nikitina, had suffered burns to 100% of her body, reported the popular news Telegram channel SHOT.

Three people have been rescued from the rubble and hospitalized in serious condition.


A car wreckage is being removed from the site of the blast in Sergiev Posad, Russia
The powerful impact damages nearby apartment buildings and vehicles.
ZUMAPRESS.com

This grab from a handout footage taken and released by the Russian Emergencies Ministry on August 9, 2023 shows emergency services working at the site of the explosion
Rescuers with sniffer dogs were combing through the rubble in search of trapped people.
Russian Emergencies Ministry/AFP via Getty Images

First responders with sniffer dogs scoured the debris-strewn area for hours in search for additional victims, as firefighters hosed down the industrial wreckage.

Some Russian media reported that a drone attack caused the blast at the manufacturing site. But multiple Russian authorities, including regional governor Andrei Vorobyov and Russia’s Investigative Committee, denied that.

Local authorities did not say exactly what caused the blast, but emergency services cited a “human factor.”

The Investigative Committee, Russia’s top federal law enforcement agency, said in a statement it has launched a criminal probe on charges of violating “industrial safety requirements at hazardous production facilities.”


This handout picture posted on August 9, 2023 on the official Telegram account of Andrey Vorobyov, Moscow region governor, shows medics helping injured people
The explosion injured at least 56 people, one of whom — a 45-year-old woman — later died in intensive care.
Telegram / vorobiev_live/AFP via Getty Images

The Zagorsk Optical-Mechanical Plant in Sergiev Posad seen after the blast
The warehouse where the blast occurred had been leased by a private pyrotechnics company.
REUTERS

Earlier, officials said Russian air defenses shot down two drones aimed at the capital overnight, and they accused Ukraine of an attempted attack.

A 1995 report by the US Department of Commerce described the Zagorsk Optical-Mechanical Plant as “a producer of precision optical equipment for the military.”

Vorobyov, however, claimed that the plant was mostly churning out fireworks and “has had nothing to do with optics or mechanics for a long time.”

With Post wires