Toxic smoke has enveloped the city, convincing many residents of Vladikavkaz to leave
A large-scale fire occurred at North Ossetia’s largest metallurgical plant. The details and implications of the incident as reported by Caucasian Knot.
A fire broke out at the Elektrozinc plant in the capital of North Ossetia, Vladikavkaz, on Sunday, 21 October. The affected area is 4.5 thousand square metres.
The fire was put out only by midday: one fireman lost his life and three were injured.
Toxic smoke enveloped the city to the extent that many residents decided to leave temporarily.
The fire occurred in a new workshop built a few years ago on the premises of the plant. An official version of the cause behind the incident has not yet been put forward.
What is Elektrozinc?
Elektrozinc is the largest industrial enterprise of non-ferrous metallurgy in North Ossetia and the second largest in Russia. It is known for its production of zinc, lead, cadmium and sulfuric acid.
Elektrozinc is owned by the Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company.
The reaction of the authorities
The chief sanitation official of North Ossetia, Alan Tibilov, reported that the level of carbon monoxide and other substances slightly exceeded the permissible norm in the air after the fire.
Meanwhile, the head of North Ossetia, Vyacheslav Bitarov, commented on calls made on social media for residents to leave the city. He stated that these rumors were a provocation aimed at exciting the people and creating a nervous atmosphere among the population.
Russian social media users expressed their fear and outrage online:
“The public reaction of the authorities and personally Vyacheslav Bitarov to today’s events is still very weak. In a situation where people flee the city, all residents of the republic need to understand that the authorities are on their side. Even if so far nothing is clear – neither the cause of the fire, nor the actual threat posed by the smoke nor its consequences.
“At a time like this, there is no need to talk about “political provocations” or anything else – except for the Elektrozinc factory itself, and this was not voiced [by the authorities],” wrote Alan Tskhurbayev, the editor-in-chief of the North Ossetian literary magazine Daryal on the evening of 21 October.