Injured in stable condition after factory blast

BELGRADE -- Three individuals injured in the blast at the Prva Iskra-Namenska factory are in stable condition.

After the explosion
After the explosion

Officials from the Emergency Centre told B92 that two of the injured had minor soft tissue wounds and scrapes and were released from the hospital, and that the third suffered minor injuries to the abdomen and will be held at the Military Medical Academy for the next 24 hours.

In yesterday’s explosion, three factory workers were killed. There is still no official knowledge of what caused the explosion.

Local and state administrations said that the citizens of Barič do not have to worry about contamination and pollution after-effects as a result of the explosion.

The blast occurred in the section of the factory in which explosive materials such as TNT are produced, and the entire section of the factory was destroyed, but the section which produces chemical products was not damaged, factory Director Stanoje Biočanin told B92. However, the emergency medical personnel were not able to get close to the factory for a longer period of time because they were unsure of whether or not more explosions would occur.

Inspection teams from the Labour and Employment Ministry are investigating the situation. Ministry deputy for inspection work, Živka Đurić told B92 that the inspectors were taking statements until very late last night in the factory and will be speaking with the injured today. She said that it is too early to discuss the causes of the accident.

“The investigation will last three or four more days probably. Our inspection team will see whether every task was performed according to technological and work regulations that are implemented in ever part of the technological process.” Đurić said, adding that her team will also see whether the workers were using the necessary protective and safety equipment while working with the highly explosive materials.

Chief of the Defence Ministry’s Defence Technology Administration, Colonel Vlado Radić told RTS that the factory is 50 years old and that at the time it was being built, it was financially impossible to build it any farther from the city.

There are six factories in Serbia that produce materials for the military, and the technology used in these factories is fairly outdated Radić said, though he stated that as far as the Iskra factory is concerned, it is very unlikely that outdated technology was the cause of the blast. 

”The element of age and functionality does not come into consideration. This is a factory that has received certificates from one of the most famous factories in the world, Bofors, stating that their explosives are better than the ones produced in Bofors.” Radić said.

He added that such accidents cannot be predicted because the process is made up of unregulated systems of crude materials, their capacities, availability on the market and security measures.

Radić said that there is one other factory in Serbia that produces similar materials, the Milan Blagojević factory in Lučane, where an explosion occurred ten years ago, killing nine people.

The explosives sector of the Iskra factory began working about a year ago, after it was shut down for restoration after being bombed and hit several times during the NATO air strikes in the spring of 1999.