Smoke from toxic-waste dump fire covers St. Petersburg

A major blaze that started Thursday at a large toxic-waste dump near St. Petersburg has been completely extinguished, although the hazardous smoke is reportedly covering the city.

The fire broke out in the afternoon in the Krasny Bor toxic-waste dump. The initial fire covered an area of 200 square meters, but quickly spread to an estimated 5,000-square-meter area. Officials say barrels with oil residue caught fire.

Russia’s Emergencies Ministry assured there the fire poses no health risk to local residents.

“We are taking readings from three control points,” an Emergencies Ministry specialist told the Interfax news agency. “No excess of the maximum permissible concentration [of emission] was recorded.”

Several photos and videos posted on social networks, however, show that the smoke can be seen quite distinctly in every city district.

The local branch of Greenpeace has asked people to refrain from leaving their houses until the fire is out to avoid any health issues.

With a total area of 73 hectares, Krasny Bor is the largest dump for industrial and medical facilities’ hazardous wastes in northwestern Russia.