Explosions Rock Russian Arms Depot, Leave At Least Two Dead
Russian television showed flames and explosions coming from the arms depot. Via AFP/NTV.ru.
Russian officials are reporting at least two firefighters have been killed and more than 40 servicemen who had been considered missing have been found alive after a series of explosions ripped through a military ammunition depot in Russia’s Ulyanovsk on Friday. It is believed that a fire at the arms depot set off the explosions inside the facility, shattering the windows of nearby homes and sending large fireballs into the sky. The depot is very large and contains several rail-cars of munitions.
Ulyanovsk is 550 miles (950 km) south-east of Moscow. Via BBC.
Officials have evacuated 3,000 people from the area while firefighters continue to try and contain the blaze. At least two versions of the causes of the explosion and ensuing fire have appeared. According to Alexei Kuznetsov, Acting Head of Press and Information Ministry of Defense, the explosion occurred at 16:00 hours (8 A.M. E.T.) presumably in the disposal of munitions, which caused a fire. According to another version, the fire could have been caused by a circuit break in the power lines, which are located on old wooden piers near the depot.
Governor Sergei Morozov stated firefighters were able to salvage a large amount of ammunition stored at the depot. Morozov reiterated that the depot stocked conventional munitions and not chemical weapons. He also excluded any possibility that the explosion could have been deliberate. Military prosecutors have already opened up a case dealing with the negligence and mishandling of the disposal of the ammunition. The depot is about 900km (550 miles) south-east of the capital Moscow.