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Munitions depot explosion forces evacuation of 2,000 people in Russia

09 October 2020

Around 2,000 people were forced to evacuate from several villages in Russia’s Ryazan region after a grass fire reached a military facility and caused an explosion. The blast and resulting fire at the munitions depot south west of Moscow happened on October 7 and injured five people.

Representative image: Shutterstock
Representative image: Shutterstock

No deaths were reported as a result of the incident, although around 2,000 people were sent fleeing from the explosion which could be seen and heard from several miles away.

Over 400 firefighters were called in to tackle the fire which had caused large flames and black smoke to rise into the sky. The military facility is reported to have been storing around 75,000 tonnes of munitions.

An investigation committee has been set up to look into the incident and see if the mishandling of munitions played a part in the explosion.

Russia’s emergency ministry announced late in the evening on October 7 that it had sent more firefighters from Moscow and additional equipment, including a firefighting train, to tackle the large blaze.

Villages within five kilometres of the scene were evacuated and nearby motorways were shut.

Incidents involving munitions are relatively common in Russia and surrounding countries due to the large amount of old munitions that remain in storage. In 2018, an explosion at the Sverdlov munitions plant in Dzerzhinsk, Nizhny Novgorod region, killed three people and injured several more.

Elsewhere, one person was killed and over 70 injured after an ammo depot exploded in Kazakhstan on June 2019. The blast happened in the town of Arys and forced the evacuation of around 44,000 locals.

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