31 May 2016 | 4:44 PM
NEW DELHI: In a major tragedy, 16 people, including two Army officers, were killed when a massive fire broke out at the Central Ammunition Depot in Pulgaon (Wardha), near Nagpur, in Maharashtra around 1.30 am on Tuesday. The fire was followed by multiple explosions.[ + read story ]
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, May 31
In a major tragedy, 16 people, including two Army officers, were killed when a massive fire broke out at the Central Ammunition Depot in Pulgaon (Wardha), near Nagpur, in Maharashtra around 1.30 am on Tuesday. The fire was followed by multiple explosions.
Later, an inquiry was ordered into the incident.
The fire started in one of the explosives stores. A Defence spokesperson said there were 16 fatalities, including two officers, Lt Col RS Pawar and Maj K Manoj. The other dead were an Army jawan and 13 civilian firefighters.
As many as 25 people have been admitted to a hospital ICU.
The fire has been brought under control, but not before extensive damage. However, secondary explosions are still feared and precautionary measures are being taken.
The depot stores artillery ammunition, which is deadly. Small arms and mortars are also stored there.
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Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag have dashed off to Pulgaon to make a spot assessment of the damage caused by the explosions.
“According to my information, the fire is now under control,” Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Tuesday. “It is an unfortunate incident. We have suffered a huge loss of lives and property. I have directed district officials to help whatever help they can. We are providing whatever assistance and resources—primarily medical assistance—required.”
“I pray that those who are injured recover quickly. I have asked Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to visit the spot and take stock of the situation,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.
Later, Director General of Military Operations, Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, said the fire started in a shed that held “highly sensitive ammunition” and was restricted to that shed only.
Lt Gen Singh said the cause of the fire had not been ascertained yet. They were trying to assess the damage and an inquiry had been ordered, he added.
He said that among the dead were an Army jawan and 13 civilian firefighters, and not the DSC jawans as reported earlier.
The injured have been admitted to the multispecialty hospital at Wardha and a team of Army doctors has been sent from Pune. He refused to answer a question on the monetary loss caused by the fire. (With inputs from agencies)
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