Explosions at Armenian Chemical Giant leave 4 dead

Armenia -- Onlookers watch as black smoke billows from the Nairit chemical plant in Yerevan hit by an explosion on 14May2009
Armenia -- Onlookers watch as black smoke billows from the Nairit chemical plant in Yerevan hit by an explosion on May14, 2009, via RFE/RL

As of this morning fire is extinguished in Nairit Chemical Plant in capital Yerevan. 4 dead, 8 injured as a result of two explosions which rocked a rubber production plant at the chemical factory. Investigation is underway to reveal the cause of the tragic. Emergency officials say there is no danger of toxic smoke in Yerevan, although the air smelled of chemicals as of 2 AM this night.
Armenia -- Explosion in Nairit chemical plant, 14May2009

The first explosion hit the factory at 18:40. 4 people were working in the plant were the explosion took place. All 4 have died. By 19:15 about 15 fire brigades were at the chemical factory, closer to 23:00, when the fire was finally extinguished, there 20 fire brigades, all emergency services were at the plant. A second explosion hit at 20:30. 17 firefighters were reported to have received injuries.
Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, General Prosecutor, other high ranking officials arrived at the Chemical factory. A commission was formed immediately to evaluate the situation and potential dangers. Overall, the emergency services seem to have handled the incident well.
This is not the first emergency at Nairit. Here’s some background from RFE/RL:

The chemical giant periodically faces emergency situations blamed on its obsolete Soviet-era equipment and poor safety standards. In one such instance, two Nairit reservoirs containing inflammable industrial waste caught fire that raged for two days before being extinguish by firefighters in December 2006. Nobody was seriously hurt at the time.
The latest accident came just one month after Nairit resumed its work following a nearly five-month stoppage blamed by its management on the global economic crisis. The plant employing more than 1,000 people at present had struggled to survive even before the crisis despite numerous changes of ownership and management. It is currently owned by the British-registered firm Rhinoville Property Limited.

Artur Papyan

Journalist, blogger, digital security and media consultant


  1. My condolences to the families of the victims.

  2. One thing I don’t understand is why are the owners of the Nairit so intent on restarting its production lines. Even during the Soviet times it was an outdated technology and a major environmental disaster. That was 20 years ago. The technology has remained the same – not only that, but it has deteriorated from being shut for the past 2 decades. Any expertise that existed during the Soviet times has been lost. Even foreign owners during the boom times could not manage to produce whatever it makes and sell it.
    What hope is there that it can sell its output in the depressed international markets nowadays?
    The thing needs to be sold to the Chinese or something – create a joint venture with them and move the pollution and the old technology to China. Make it a turn-key operation and let the profits flow into Armenia.

    1. It seems, that the authorities are pushing for the chemical plant to reopen within a month http://www.azatutyun.am/content/article/1732613.html
      Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Armen Movsesyan discarded speculations that the chemical giant should close, saying “It has to work”.

  3. It is Russian owned, correct? That’s why it ‘has to open’. Not to worry, both of the slave masters, I mean, governments have said no risk is involved.
    It would be great if there were some ‘radical opposition’ that would fight for the end of things like this. Take it to the streets. Certainly, Armenians could get behind somebody and fight for what’s left of their dignity? It’s not like they would bicker eternally and turn on each other while the real perpetrators laughed to the bank… Right?

  4. My condolences to the families of the victims.

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