A massive fire in an ammunition magazine of the Proof and Experiment Establishment (PXE), a Defence Research and Development Organisation laboratory in Chandipur (Orissa), destroyed an estimated 15,000 kg of propellants, early on Monday.

The fire, which broke out around 4 a.m., was controlled within two hours and prevented from spreading to surrounding magazines and other facilities, a top DRDO official said.

The cause of the fire was not known and an investigation team from the DRDO headquarters in New Delhi was being rushed to probe the incident. Observing that it was not due to short-circuit, the official said it had to be investigated whether it was ‘man-made, natural or chemical-related.’

Asked if he suspected sabotage, he said, “We are not ruling out anything. We can’t take it lightly.”