Explosions, fire in army ammunition depot injure 35


Srinagar : Massive explosions went off at an Indian army ordnance depot in Jammu and Kashmir Saturday morning, injuring 35 people including soldiers, and causing a major fire. Villagers near the ammunition depot were hurriedly evacuated and efforts were launched to control the terrible blaze.

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The deafening explosions at the Khandroo Field Ordnance Depot, 67 km from here, sent shells and splinters flying over villages situated nearby. The depot is located inside a heavily guarded army camp.

The injured also include some villagers and fire fighting personnel.

“We have evacuated many people from around the camp area as a precaution. Efforts are continuing to control the fire,” Hemant Lohia, the deputy inspector general of police south Kashmir range, told IANS here.

The army has also evacuated its personnel and family members from inside the camp area.

“Massive efforts are continuing to control the blaze,” defence spokesman Lt. Col A.K. Mathur said.

The explosions and fire led to panic in the villages. “There was a big bang followed by a series of blasts. We ran into our homes,” a local resident, Abdul Rashid, said over telephone.

Senior army, police and paramilitary officers have reached the spot.

“We have ordered evacuation of the local population in a six-sq kilometre radius. This is temporary. The villagers would return to their homes once the fire is controlled,” a government official said here.

The injured troopers have been taken to hospital.