Bulgaria munitions plant explosion kills one, injures four
22 December 2014
A large explosion at an ammunition plant in southeastern Bulgaria on December 19 has killed one worker and wounded four others. The injured, two of them women, are in a critical condition in hospital with severe burns. Officials cited undisclosed “technical issues” as the cause of the blast.
Interior Ministry chief secretary Svetoslav Lazarov said that the privately-owned plant in Muglizh, 10km east of Kazanluk and 20km north of Stara Zagora, had a licence to make fireworks and hunting munitions. Lazarov said that the plant has been evacuated and the area was secured by police and fire-fighters.
According to the Sofia Globe, the country has a recent history of deadly explosions at munitions depots and production facilities. The most recent one, at a munitions processing plant in the village of Gorni Lom in October, resulted in the deaths of 15 people. That was the third major explosion at the facility since 2007. In August, 10 people were injured in an explosion at the Terem munitions plant in the town of Kostenets, 60km south-east from Bulgarian capital city Sofia.
In February, one person died from burns caused by an explosion at the Arsenal plant in Muglizh, while a series of blasts at the Arsenal plant in Kazanluk in September 2012 resulted in no casualties. The Arsenal plant in Kazanluk also had a major fire erupt in August 2008, but no casualties were reported that time either.
In June 2012, seven people were injured in explosions at a munitions depot near the village of Lozenets, in Yambol region. In July 2008, blasts rocked Sofia after a fire at a munitions depot in the village of Chelopechene, just outside the city.
According to Focus News Agency, Interior Minister Veselin Vuchkov has called for a change in the licensing and importation regulations governing the ammunition sector in Bulgaria to reduce the chances of such incidents in the future.
He said there would be a ban on imports of mines from other countries for disposal in Bulgaria, and that regulations on the sale of time-expired ammunition from the Bulgarian Armed Forces to private companies for decommissioning would be tightened up.