Residents in the town of Podolsk, located approximately 37 km south of Moscow, have taken to the town’s central square to demand action from authorities after a burst pipe took out heating in the area since Thursday as temperatures plummet below zero.
The outage was caused by a heating pipe bursting at the Klimovsk Specialized Ammunition Plant located around 7 km south of Podolsk, with a preliminary investigation citing “improper operation of the boiler room” as the cause of the incident.
As a result, more than 170 apartment buildings, as well as numerous medical, educational and pre-school facilities in the area were left without hot water and heating, affecting close to 20,000 people.
The plant did not report the incident initially, and local authorities only learned of the incident when residents complained of the lack of heating en-mass, according to Moscow Region Vice Governor Evgeny Khromushin, as reported by Radio Liberty.
Podolsk Mayor Grigory Artamonov said three leaks were discovered at the plant. Some sources said repair work was completed by Friday morning, but residents continued to report a lack of heating at the time of writing, with videos of burst radiators inside apartments surfacing on social media.
According to a Telegram announcement by Russian outlet Ostorozhno Moskva, residents of Podolsk – including women with children and pensioners – gathered at the town’s central square to demand the restoration of heating as soon as possible and punish those responsible for the outage.
Some of those in attendance said the temperature inside their apartments was less than 10 degrees Celsius due to the outage.
“The police arrived quickly to disrupt us. I wish they’d brought back the heating as fast as they dispatched the cops,” said the resident who recorded the video.
This is not an isolated incident, as power and heating outages – made worse after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine – have been known to plague local residents.
In a Telegram announcement, Moscow Region Governor Andrey Vorobyov said authorities have appealed to the court to transfer the operation of the boilers from private entities to local municipalities.
Under the announcement were hundreds of comments calling for help, with some supporting the move and citing corruption and government incompetence as the causes behind similar incidents.
Some users complained of similar situations outside of Podolsk and said people have been freezing for years.
“And you can also take the Keramika boiler house in the village of Mikhnevo, Stupinsky district, for inspection. This is the second year that people have been freezing in damp and blackened apartments. We write and complain, but there is no result,” said another user.
On the same day of the incident, a fire at a substation in Moscow led to power outages in several districts of the capital.
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