Explosions in dangerous places have become quite the theme in Russia over the years, as seen again this week with the brief announcement on Monday [September 16] that “a gas cylinder explosion” caused a fire in a reinforced concrete laboratory building near Novosibirsk, in Siberia. The complexity this time is that the Vector facility—the State Research Centre of Virology and Biotechnology—is a Cold War era Soviet bioweapons lab that now researches (and houses) Ebola, Smallpox and Anthrax.
The fact that Vector is one of only two places in the world that stockpiles Smallpox—the other being the CDC facility in Atlanta—tells you everything you need to know. Local firefighter and rescue teams responded to the explosion before someone realised the implications and, as reported by Russian media, “the situation was quickly upgraded from an ordinary emergency to a major incident.”
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