MOSCOW: A blaze raged for hours at a gas-fired power station outside Moscow Thursday (Jul 11), killing a worker overseeing a substation and damaging a nearby warehouse, office building and hostel, emergency services said.
As the fire sent a smoke and flames 50m into the sky, a female employee was unable to escape in time, Russia's emergencies ministry said.
"While searching through debris at the fire scene, one fatality was discovered," the ministry said.
The fire at Thermal Power Station-27 broke out Thursday morning in the Mytishchi district, around 20km from Moscow.
The emergencies ministry said that 14 people received medical treatment, one of whom was hospitalised. There was no risk of the fire spreading to nearby residential areas, it said.
A high-pressure gas pipe supplying fuel was burning outside the power station itself, the energy ministry said.
Smoke and flames were visible from the capital and the emergencies ministry said that the fire blazed over an area of 800 sq m.
The fire subsided after authorities switched off the gas supply but black smoke continued to billow as gas already released continued to burn.
Investigators were working to pinpoint the cause.
GAS PIPE 'LEAK'
Russia's Investigative Committee, which probes serious incidents, said it was checking whether the energy company violated safety rules, a charge punishable by three years in prison.
The energy ministry said a leak from a high-pressure gas pipe sparked the fire outside the power station.
"Apparently there was a leak from a gas pipe," regional emergency ministry official Sergei Poletykin told Interfax.
A small explosion was heard before the fire broke out, Russian news agencies reported.
The power station was built at the end of the Soviet era and opened in 1996. Its four reactors supply part of Moscow and the region around the capital city with electricity and centralised hot water and heating.
The energy ministry said electricity supplies to the public would not be affected and the fire did not damage generation equipment at the station.
Russia is economically dependent on its vast oil and gas reserves.