Six workers in a secret weapons-making section of a Russian chemicals plant have died after suffering “horrific burns” in a mysterious “explosion”, it is reported.
Only one out of a team of seven remains alive and is in grave condition.
Some members of the team “were not supposed to be” in the workshop and their presence led to the blast, say sources.
Staff shortages were blamed for inexperienced personnel being on duty in the high security facility, and a “violation” of safety rules.
The facility in Kamensk-Shakhtinsky, Rostov region is believed to be involved in the manufacture of multiple launch rocket systems and weapons.
Officials have denied there was a leak of chemicals into the atmosphere, despite an ominous video appearing to show smoke rising from the Kamensky chemical plant.
They have released scant details of the explosion and its causes amid an information blackout.
One worker was reported dead on Friday but now five more have succumbed to appalling 100 percent burns, according to reports.
Foreman Alexander Krasnikov, 33, was today fighting for his life in a coma and on a ventilator, reported Rostov Gazeta.
Among the dead are Svetlana Mikhina, 55, Gennady Ivanov, 34, and Gennady Andreev, 31.
A source told BAZA media, “Some (people) were not supposed to be there. The company cut staff. There were inexperienced staff who were forced to do jobs they had not previously undertaken. This influenced the incident.”
Reports have said there was a “violation” of safety rules.
“When the fire began, people ran out, pulling their clothes off because they were burning alive,” a source told Tsargrad Rostov.
The workshop evidently had a door that was two meters thick.
The plant is engaged in the production of chemical products, including for the Russian Ministry of Defense. It has links to NPO Splav, which produces multiple launch rocket systems Grad, Smerch, and Uragan.
It also produces chemicals for civilian uses.
A probe into the explosion is being led by Dmitry Kapranov, director of the Department of the Industry of Conventional Arms, Ammunition and Special Chemistry of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia.