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16 killed in Maharashtra Army ammunition dump blaze

Tuesday’s good news on gdp was tempered by bad news on india’s biggest ammo depot fire

Published: 01st June 2016 04:18 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st June 2016 04:18 AM   |  A+A-

FIRE

NEW DELHI: A fire at the Army’s biggest ammunition depot in Pulgaon, Maharashtra, killed at least 16 people, including two Army officers, on Tuesday. As many as 17 people sustained serious injuries in the incident, but were reported to be stable. The fire started at 1 am in one of the sheds that housed “highly sensitive ammunition” in the high security Central Ammunition Depot (CAD), spread over 7,000 acres. It was doused later.

FIREa.jpgPreliminary inquiries revealed that 130 tonnes of anti-tank mines were destroyed in the blaze. However, it is possible that the damage was much more. Army sources claimed the particular shed which caught fire had anti-tank and anti-personnel mines. “Loss of lives happened due to the detonation of explosive devices,” said an Army official.

Disaster zone

May 31, 2016

At least 16, including two Army officials, killed and several injured after a fire at the Central Ammunition Depot in Pulgaon, Maharashtra

December 8, 2015

Ammunition explodes at Naval Arms Depot in Visakhapatnam triggering off a fire injuring five. One of the injured sustained 95 per cent burns

March 26, 2010

Major fire at depots of Army at Panagarh in West Bengal guts a store house containing a large quantity of small arms and ammunition

april 29, 2001

Fire at ammunition dump of Army’s Mamoon Cantonment near Pathankot destroys four to seven metric tonnes of ammo worth E150 million

Burning questions

Who is Responsible for the Accident?

Director General Ordnance is the top official responsible for ammunition depot.  But here, role of the Commanding Officer of the CAD will be probed

What will be the Impact on Army?

Army, which is already struggling to cope with shortage of ammunition will now face a loss of huge quantity, which will hit its preparedness

Is the Army prepared for such accidents?

There are mechanisms in place, but three fires in last 10 years called for review of Standard Operating Procedures being followed on the ground

What caused Maharashtra Depot explosion?

Various factors, ranging from short circuit to leak of chemicals, could be the reasons for the fire. Inquiry will establish the real cause

Was it an Accident or Sabotage?

Sabotage angle cannot be completely ruled out yet. Army has ordered an inquiry into the mishap which will reveal more details



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