No Version Ruled Out about Iganovo Blasts - Bulgaria Deputy EconMin

Incidents | April 15, 2015, Wednesday // 09:20|  views

Smoke can be seen over the production facilities at the VMZ Sopot military plant near the village of Iganovo, Central Bulgaria, on April 14, 2015. Photo by BGNES

All hypotheses seeking to explain Tuesday's new explosions at a production site of VMZ Sopot military plant are on the table, Bulgarian Deputy Economy Minister Lyuben Petrov has said.

Just three weeks after March 21's blasts at an ammunition depot near the village of Iganovo which resulted in no human casualties, the area was rocked by a series of new explosions that began Tuesday morning and continued until midday.

This time, the incident occurred at a production facility, following a month in which the VMZ Sopot plant had been closed for inspections.

There were as many as 22 explosions, officials say. The items that went off were the same as the ammunition which was incinerated in the warehouse incident last month.

The plant is located 3 km away from the village of Iganovo, Central Bulgaria, which lies 12 km west of the nearby town of Karlovo.

As special teams are preparing to enter the site of after 24 hours have passed from the latest blasts, Petrov reiterated that "sabotage" could also have caused the development, since workers hadn't had access to the site for weeks following the first incident.

Petrov, who on Tuesday was one of various officials to hint that deliberate action might have led to the blasts, told private national TV station bTV that the repetition of such an incident within less than a month raised suspicions.

He added all versions were currently looked into and none was to be excluded.

Iganovo Mayor Stefan Danchev also believes the explosions could not have happened without outside intervention. In an interview with private national NOVA TV channel he explained that it is drug trade and "military production" that bring "a lot of money", and there is someone "who wishes that no military production [should take place] in Bulgaria."

The Economy Ministry is the principal of VMZ Sopot, and officials say the plant will have to remain closed for a month more after Tuesday's events.

Petrov, however, added his ministry would do its best to make sure production could go on at the plant "in the fastest possible way".

Workers and management members voiced on Monday their concern at a further delay in the opening of the plant which in their words would have a negative impact on production and would hinder it from delivering on already placed orders.

An idea raised by plant officials suggests workers might be offered paid leave until facilities are reopened.

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Tags: Lyuben Petrov, Iganovo, Bulgaria, blast, explosion, incident, ammunition, Sopot, VMZ Sopot


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