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Sixteen people were killed in an explosion and fire at a gunpowder and chemicals plant in Russia "because of negligence", according to reports.
The tragedy took place in the western Ryazan province, TASS news agency reported on Friday, October 22, citing a source.
The emergencies ministry confirmed 12 deaths in the accident, saying four people remained missing.
It occurred at the Elastik factory, about 270 kilometres southeast of Moscow.
TASS quoted its source as saying the accident had been caused by a failure to observe the proper technical process at the facility.
Pictures from the site published by the ministry showed firefighters standing next to a brick building that appeared to have been partly demolished by the blast.
At least 170 emergency workers and 50 vehicles are dealing with the fire and harrowing pictures show the extent of the blast, with one depicting a fireman hosing down the remnants of a building, with bricks and debris scattered everywhere.
"There is no threat to the population" of the nearby localities, the ministry said in a statement, with fears that the airborne chemicals could have repercussions.
According to Euronews, the factory specialises in the manufacture of industrial explosives for civilian use, as per its website, but it also has "production capacity" for ammunition.
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It is considered a "strategic enterprise" by the Russian government, the publication added.
The factory belongs to the state-owned Rostec conglomerate, according to its website. Rostec groups together a host of companies supplying industrial and high-tech products to the civilian and military sectors, Euronews said.
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