refinery explosion fire Komi republic
One person was injured and thousands evacuated as a huge blaze occurred at an oil refinery in the Republic of Komi west of the Ural Mountains. The fire and a column of thick black smoke could be seen for kilometers around.

The fire at the diesel processing unit of the plant in the city of Ukhta, population circa 100,000, was preceded by "two bangs of a technological character," a source in the Emergencies Ministry said.

The blaze spread quickly, covering around 1,000 square meters at its peak. It was assigned the highest category of difficulty, with around 80 emergency workers and 15 firetrucks involved in extinguishing it. A fire train was later sent to help put the blaze out.

One person was hospitalized with a chest injury and burns of up to five percent of the body, including the face. The 41-year-old man, who was reportedly an employee at the plant, remains in intensive care, but his life is out of danger.

The inferno prompted an evacuation of the plant, belonging to a subsidiary of Russian energy giant Lukoil, as well as a nearby mall, which was attended by up to 5,000 people at the time of the disaster, according to TASS.

The local authorities said that blaze posed no threat to the city and that it didn't lead to any harmful substances polluting the air.