20 army personnel dead in fire at ammunition depot in India

673

Themorningbell Desk, May 31: A fire at a massive military ammunition depot in Pulgaon of Maharashtra in India has killed at least 20 army personnel and injured 19 others.

The blaze began at 1:30 am at the depot near Nagpur, with television footage showing flames lighting up the night sky above the largest ammunition centre in India and the second-largest in Asia.injured

Ammunition stored and distributed from here includes AK47s and BrahMos missiles. Sources told NDTV that some of the casualties were caused as officers rushed towards the flames to prevent crucial ammunition from being blown up.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar will visit the depot today.  At 11 am, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said he had been informed that the fire has been contained.

The injured reportedly include the Commanding Officer of the depot who was leading efforts to protect the ammunition. However, NDTV does not have independent confirmation of this.

Thousands of families living in nearby towns and villages have been evacuated from around the depot.The injured have been taking to nearby hospital and two of them are said to be in a serious condition.

The injured have been taking to nearby hospital and two of them are said to be in a serious condition.

The army has ordered a Court of Inquiry or investigation; sources said they cannot confirm if the fire was an accident or sabotage.

Firefighters using 10 fire engines worked through the night to contain the blaze, said Ramesh Barde, a fire officer with the Nagpur fire department.

“The fire was brought under control by 6:15 am. The situation is under control and a report is being prepared,” he added, speaking from the scene.

Source: Agencies