A fire mysteriously broke out at a Russian military research facility on Thursday.
Multiple videos shared on social media showed the fire at the Central Research Institute of the Aerospace Defense Forces in the city of Tver. The city is located about 111 miles from the Russian capital city of Moscow.
The military research facility had reportedly played a role in the development of Russian S-series surface-to-air missiles, as well as the Iskander short-range ballistic missile (SRBM).
Local emergency officials told the Russian state-run TASS news agency that at least seven people had died in the blaze and at least 25 more sustained injuries. Some people suffered injuries after inhaling smoke and fumes, while others were hurt when they jumped out of windows to escape the fire.
The exact cause of the fire was unknown, but TASS reported it began on the second story of the building and preliminary reports indicate it began with a short circuit in the building’s wiring. A Twitter user shared a similar report that the fire started due to old wiring and the building’s flammable plastic cladding.
According to TASS, the fire at the facility expanded to an area of around 2,500 square meters (about 26,909 square feet) before firefighters managed to contain it. Mi-8 transport helicopters helped in the firefighting efforts by dropping at least 10 tank loads of water over the fire.
Liveuamap.com reported that 240 firefighters had joined in the firefighting efforts.
Liveuamap.com also tweeted that the roof of the facility had collapsed during the fire.
The fire at the Tver military research facility could be seen from a fair distance.
A fire was also reported at the Dmitrievsky chemical plant in the western Russian city of Kineshma on Thursday. The chemical plant reportedly served as the largest Russian manufacturer of chemical solvents.
It is not clear if the fire at the chemical plant has any relation to the fire at the Tver military research facility.
Other Russian military facilities and pieces of critical infrastructure have been damaged in the weeks since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine.
In March, an explosion hit a suspected Russian ammunition depot near the city of Belgorod, which is located just a few miles from Russia’s border with Ukraine. According to Ukrainian journalist Yuriy Butusov, the explosion was the result of a Ukrainian strike on a Russian rocket artillery warehouse.
Earlier this month, a pair of suspected Ukrainian attack helicopters were seen firing missiles that blew up a fuel depot in Belgorod. The Russian side attributed the attack to Ukraine, but the Ukrainian side has not claimed responsibility.