The Russian city of Ulyanovsk was rocked by blasts after a fire triggered multiple explosions at a military depot located on the outskirts of the city. The city is located in the Volga region. At least 2 people are feared killed though an emergency services source confirmed 1 death till now. BBC meanwhile has reported death of two firefighters who were on duty trying to douse the flames.
“One civilian specialist is known to have died for sure,” an emergencies source said.
The Governor of the Ulyanovsk region, Sergey Morozov, said that 3000 residents have been moved to safer locations as depot is very large and houses “several thousand rail cars” of ammunition.
On its Web site, the Russian Defense Ministry said the initial explosion took place around 4 p.m. (8 a.m. ET) “apparently during the disposal of ammunition” at one of the army’s arsenals. “The explosion in one of its workshops led to a fire which spread onto adjacent buildings of the military units,” the statement said. “The surrounding area is cordoned off. Fifteen fire brigades … are trying to localize the fire.”
Governor Mozrov also said that the incident seems to be a result of “breach of a technological process during the disposal of ammunition.”
The facility is reported to house “conventional and non-chemical ammunition” only. Russian TV also informed that there is no threat of air or water pollution as a result of the incident.
An official also informed that the fire is mostly under control and the frequency of blasts has also reduced which were initially going off every 30 seconds and could be heard from a distance of 15 kms. (9 Miles) earlier.
[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8vZVkyfsis]Initial reports indicated that around 40 people were missing after the blast but latest reports stated that the missing people have been located and rescued.
“I am extremely happy that more than 40 people escaped from that warehouse because they were exactly those people we considered were missing,” Ulyanovsk Governor Sergei Morozov told state television.
A criminal investigation has been launched in the fire though the authorities ruled out any possibility of a deliberate action to trigger the blasts.