11 Aug 2023 19:39

Technical director of Piro-Russ firm denies culpability in explosion, claims sabotage

MOSCOW. Aug 11 (Interfax) - The Sergiyev-Posad City Court in the Moscow region has begun considering an investigator's motion for the arrest of Sergei Chankayev, technical director of the Piro-Russ enterprise, where an explosion occurred.

"No, I don't consider myself guilty [...] I believe it was sabotage, there could not have been [any] other causes," Chankayev said in court.

An explosion rocked a rented fireworks warehouse near the Zagorsk Optical-Mechanical Plant on the morning of August 9. A criminal case was opened on counts of breaching industrial safety requirements for hazardous facilities.

More than 80 people sought medical assistance following the explosion. Five injured people are in intensive care, nine are listed as missing, and one woman has died in hospital.

According to the Moscow region's Investigative Committee, investigators have searched the premises of Piro-Russ, at whose warehouse the fire occurred, and seized documents significant to the investigation, including employee job descriptions. Thirty-four people have been questioned as witnesses. Explosive, physical and chemical, ballistic, and explosive technology evaluations have been ordered to determine the cause of the fire. Sixty forensic evaluations have been ordered.

Chankayev was general director of the enterprise from 2006 to April 1, 2023, when Alexei Suvorov was appointed the company's new bankruptcy manager. According to earlier reports citing the SPARK-Interfax analytical system, a bankruptcy procedure was initiated for Piro-Russ. Valid decisions of the Federal Tax Service on suspending transactions on the firm's accounts are dated August 9, 2023.