Mysterious Fires Break Out at Russia Chemical Plant and Defense Facility

At least six people were killed after a fire gutted a Russian defense research institute in Tver, north-west of Moscow. In a separate incident, a fire reportedly broke out at a plant around 330 miles away that made chemical solvents.

The blaze in Tver, which is around 110 miles from the Russian capital, started on the second floor of the Central Research Institute of the Aerospace Defense Forces at around 11 a.m. on Thursday and then engulfed an area of about 1,070 square feet.

The fire ripped through the upper three floors of the building and in total, was spread over an area of 2,700 square feet. Images of the main building showed it gutted by the flames while video footage showed thick smoke and flames billowing from the institute's windows.

Russia fire (for video)
A screen grab shows a fire engulfing the Central Research Institute of the Aerospace Defense Forces in the Russian city of Tver on April 21, 2022. At least six people have died and 25 were injured in the blaze.

Some reports said the death toll was seven, although this has not been confirmed. A further 25 people suffered injuries either from smoke inhalation or from jumping out of the windows to escape, with 13 still in hospital as of Friday morning. There were 54 people who were rescued and another 98 were evacuated.

An Mi-8 helicopter was dispatched and dropped at least 10 tank loads of water to try to extinguish the fire before it was localized by rescuers, according to news agency Tass. Emergency services said that the fire was finally put out at around 7.30 a.m. local time on Friday.

Preliminary reports cited a short circuit failure as the cause of the blaze at the building which according to the Russian defense ministry's website, deals with aerospace research, including on a unified air defense system for former Soviet republics. The institute also helped develop the Iskander missile system.

Prosecutors have opened a criminal case into possible fire safety violations, Tass reported.

Accidental fires are common in Russia, with aging infrastructure and non compliance with safety standards causing hundreds of blazes each year. Newsweek has contacted Tver's emergency ministry for comment.

The fire comes amid unconfirmed reports of a blaze at one of Russia's biggest chemical plants.

Dramatic footage shared on social media has shown smoke billowing from the Dmitrievsky Chemical Plant in the city of Kineshma, around 250 miles east of Moscow.

The facility, which Newsweek has contacted for further information, is described on its website as the largest producer of butyl acetate and industrial solvents in Russia and eastern Europe.

While images have been widely shared on social media, authorities have not yet confirmed if there were any casualties.