Fire at major Russian steel, iron factory kills at least 6, injures 8

A fire at Russia's largest steel mill killed at least six people, and rescuers searched the building Wednesday for others feared killed or trapped, officials said.

The blaze broke out at the OAO Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works plant in the Ural Mountains, some 1,500 kilometers (950 miles) east of Moscow, late Tuesday and it took firefighters more than four hours to bring it under control.

Natalia Lukash, a spokeswoman for the federal Emergency Situations Ministry, said rescuers recovered three bodies Wednesday from the debris of a sheet metal rolling workshop, bringing the death toll to six.

She said eight other workers were injured, three of them seriously. Rescuers were searching for an unknown number of others feared trapped or killed; a top official for the Chelyabinsk region said authorities were still trying to pinpoint the number of people in the workshop at the time of the blaze, reports AP.

Russian television broadcast footage showing rescuers crawling over concrete and metal from a cavernous workshop with a partially collapsed roof. One emergency official said in televised comments temperatures that dipped to 27 degrees Celsius below zero (-17 Fahrenheit) hampered the fire fighting efforts.

Investigators were trying to determine what caused the blaze.

The stand-alone mill, known by the nickname "Magnitka," is Russia's largest, with output of nearly 12 million tons per year.

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