Fire at Army’s key ammo depot kills 16

Fire broke out in the early hours on Tuesday at the nation's largest ammunition depot killing 17 soldiers and injuring many

May 31, 2016 01:10 pm | Updated November 17, 2021 05:05 am IST - Wardha (Maharashtra):

Sixteen men, including two Army officers, were killed in a massive fire at the Army’s Central Ammunition Depot (CAD) in Pulgaon town of Maharashtra’s Wardha district early on Tuesday morning.

CAD is the most crucial ammunition depot of the army and among the largest in the world.

“Two Army officers, one jawan and 13 men of the firefighting staff sacrificed their lives to stop the fire from spreading,” Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar told reporters after visiting the spot. Seventeen people were injured. Six of them are in the ICU and one is critical, the Minister said.

Mr. Parrikar did not rule out sabotage. “But according to the Army officers and the experts, the possibility of sabotage seems less,” he said.

In New Delhi, Lt. Gen. Ranbir Singh, Director General of Military Operations, said immediate steps were taken by the firefighting parties and Quick Reaction Teams located in the depot. “This restricted the fire to one shed only which contained sensitive ammunition,” he said.

The Army has ordered an inquiry.

According to one of the injured firefighting staff, around 1 a.m. a fire was reported at one of the sheds. “We went to douse the fire but it spread to the entire shed,” he said.

Most of the injured men said they did not hear any explosion before the fire was reported.

Houses damaged

Residents of villages such as Agargaon, Pipary and Nagjhari, situated within 5 km of the depot, moved to safer locations. Some houses were damaged when the ammunition exploded but no one was injured.

(With inputs from Dinakar Peri)

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