Steel plant
© Sputnik / Aleksandr Kondratuk
Production facilities of the Mechel iron and steel plant in Chelyabinsk.
Two workers were trapped in a crane cabin in a deadly blaze following a liquid metal spill at the iron and steel factory in Chelyabinsk, Russia.

A fire struck the Mechel iron and steel plant in the Russian city of Chelyabinsk (1,783km east of Moscow) early on Wednesday as red hot liquid metal spilled from a scoop on a 150 sq. m. surface, leaving two people dead, local authorities report. Officials say a moving crane was burning as firefighters arrived at the scene.

A witness reports that the fire was caused by a blast as hot metal poured into the mold, which mistakenly contained water or ice. The incident reportedly caused major damage and left the production facility without a roof.

The two victims of the accident were inside the moving crane when the fire struck. A woman, 42, was instructing a trainee, 30, as the horrific scene unfolded. The crane driver's husband, who also works at the facility, reportedly witnessed the tragic events.

The fire was put out by 8:20am local time. Sixteen workers managed to escape before the emergency services arrived. The accident did not interrupt the production routine of the other departments. An investigation into the tragedy has been launched.

The Mechel iron and steel plant has become infamous following a number of fatalities in recent years. The tragic death of a woman crushed by an 850kg wire bundle made headlines in November 2018, and in March 2017, a man died after becoming stuck in a cleat.