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The power plant fire in Mytishchi, Russia: What we know so far

Source: Meduza
Sergey Bobylev / TASS / Scanpix / LETA

A gas pipeline caught fire near the Northern Thermal Power Plant in Mytishchi, a city about 15 miles from the outside edge of Moscow. The fire broke out in the morning of July 11, and a fire alarm reached first responders at 11:11. They labeled the fire an event of Level 3 complexity out of the five available levels. 157 people and 52 vehicles and pieces of emergency equipment were deployed to fight the fire, including two helicopters and two firefighting trains. Flames at the power plant reached more than nine stories high. At 12:38 PM, first responders reported that the source of the combustion that started the fire had been extinguished. The fire was localized to an area of 800 square meters (8,611 square feet), and at 2:09 PM, Emergencies Ministry employees officially announced that the fire at the pipeline had been eliminated.

Moskva news agency

One person died in the course of the fire. She was a woman who worked as a security guard at the facility. Russia’s Emergencies Ministry also reported that 13 individuals were injured: one of them was hospitalized, and the rest were treated at the scene of the fire. First responders told journalists that some of those injured were employees of an automobile repair shop located near the power plant.

The fire and its aftermath do not present a threat to nearby residential areas, first responders said. The power plant itself and the equipment attached to it were not damaged either, according to officials in Russia’s Energy Ministry. However, the Emergencies Ministry reported that the heat from the fire caused a nearby storage area and an administrative building to ignite, causing another fire about 1,000 square meters (10,764 square feet) in area. The Telegram-based outlet Baza reported without citing specific sources that the flames had spread to a dormitory near the power plant, and a source told the wire agency Interfax that a former school building had also burned, but that information has not been officially confirmed. Sections of the Ostashkovsky Highway have been closed off due to the fire.

The Northern Thermal Power Plant provides electricity for Mytishchi and parts of Moscow — it covers neighborhoods in the Northern and Northeastern Districts of the city. The primary energy source for the plant is natural gas. The branch of Russia’s Energy Ministry responsible for the Moscow region reported that the station has stopped producing electricity due to the fire. However, the ministry noted that it anticipates no threats to the local power supply because reserve facilities have been activated to cover the Mytishchi station’s losses.

Russia’s Investigative Committee has opened a criminal case under the country’s statute on violations of the safety and defenses of fuel and energy facilities (Article 217.1, part 1 of the country’s Criminal Codex). The damage caused by the fire has been estimated at 150 million rubles ($2.4 million). The causes of the fire are not yet known, though Interfax reported that it may have been ignited by construction-related damage to the gas pipeline where it began.

Story by Grigory Levchenko

Translation by Hilah Kohen