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Fire breaks out at Russian explosive plant, 7 dead, 9 missing: What you need to know

Firefighters work to put out a fire at a gunpowder and chemicals plant in Ryazan Region on 22 October (Russia’s Emergencies Ministry/Handout via Reuters)/courtesy- Independent

Seven people died and nine others were missing after a fire on Friday at a factory southeast of Moscow that produces industrial explosives as well as armaments.

Amateur video footage on Russian social media showed rows of fire trucks with burning debris in a wooded area by the factory in the village of Lesnoye, 300 kilometres from Moscow.

The official toll from the incident was expected to rise with a source telling the Interfax news agency that 16 people had died.

At least 170 emergency workers and 50 vehicles are dealing with the fire.

A failure to observe proper technical process caused the accident, according to a source cited by Russian news agency TASS.

Investigators said that the blaze resulted from "flagrant violations" of safety norms including emergency exits locked and non-functioning alarm systems, prompting President Vladimir Putin to demand answers.

Accidental fires are common in Russia, where hundreds of blazes are recorded each year due to ageing and dilapidated infrastructure and non-compliance with safety standards.

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