At least 15 people are feared dead after an explosion in a privately run gunpowder factory in a Bulgarian village.

A blast occurred in Gorni village, north-west of Vidin city in Bulgaria late on Wednesday.

Two buildings were destroyed in the blast and Bulgarian officials confirmed on Thursday that while three women were wounded at least 15 workers inside the plant remain unaccounted for.

Nikola Nikolov, a fire department official, said the rescue services had failed to find any spark of life in the wreckage.

Valeri Mitkov, chairman of the board of directors of the Videx company – which produces explosive materials and ammunition – did not provide any information on the exact number of the personnel inside the factory.

The country's interior minister, Yordan Bakalov, said serious violations were detected and fines were imposed after a factory inspection launched two weeks ago.

"The exact reason and details of the explosion will be revealed after the teams enter the scene and launch an inclusive investigation," the minister told reporters.

The Bulgarian government is expected to declare a day of mourning and several political parties suspended campaigning ahead of the country’s October 5 early parliamentary elections.

Anadolu Agency, Photo: Sofia News Agency