Two workers were killed at an explosives factory in Russia’s Perm region 1,000 kilometers east of Moscow, local authorities said Monday.
“There was a fire at around 20:00 on May 1 at the plastics production site in the Perm Power Plant federal state enterprise,” the regional labor watchdog said in a statement.
One employee was killed immediately, one died in hospital and a third victim remains hospitalized.
The watchdog said an investigative commission that includes technological inspectors is working to establish the cause of the incident.
The Perm powder plant makes explosives for Grad and Smerch multiple launch rocket systems, air defense systems, tanks and artillery, launch and acceleration stages for sea-based cruise missiles, as well as ball propellants for small arms.
It also manufactures civilian products including paints and finishes, according to the state-run RIA Novosti news agency.
Local eyewitnesses described the explosion at the factory building to local media, identifying the victims as female employees with third-degree burns.
“The building simply flew into the sky, we had bags of gunpowder there all our lives,” an unnamed employee told the Komsomolskaya Pravda tabloid.