Fire at Central Ammunition Depot in Pulgaon, 16 died, several injured

Major fire broke out at the Central Ammunition Depot in Pulgaon, Wardha district of Maharashtra. At least 16 people, including two Army officials, one enlisted soldier and 13 civilian firefighters died, while several others suffered injuries. Around seventeen Defence Security Corp (DSC) jawans were injured and some of them are in critical condition. The fire broke out in the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday while the main cause behind fire is yet known yet. Though the fire has been put out now, but there still seems to be fire burning in a small part. And there are chances that a second explosion might break out soon.

The Ammunition Depot at Pulgaon is India’s biggest ammunition depot. Arms reach the depot from number of factories and stocked here for further distribution. The depot also keeps check on the expiry of ammunition and disposes them who shelf life expires. Recently, the depot was awarded for disposing off all the expired ammunition with the help of solar energy.

Considering large scale disaster due to fire, people from nearby villagers were evacuated early morning. While the fire started dousing, security measures were employed around the area and the surroundings were cordoned off. Fire was completely doused by 4 PM, DGMO Lt Gen Ranbir Singh informed.

Army officers who lost their life in the fire were : Lieutenant Colonel RS Pawar and Major K Manoj. Other injured Army officials have been admitted to Military Hospital in Pulgaon and some of them have also been sent to Civil Hospital in Wardha. Most of them who were killed during the fire were either the retired Army officials or the volunteers of the DSC.

An investigation in the matter has been ordered by the Army and Army Chief General Dalbir Singh arrived at Pulgaon to provide first hand assistance. One Army Officer informed, “The main fire at one of the sheds has been extinguished. The situation has been stabilized. Secondary fire and explosions cannot be ruled out now.”

As soon as the Defence Minister Manohar Parikkar received instructions from Narendra Modi, he soon rushed to the spot. Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered prayers to the deceased via Twitter.

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