NIZHNY NOVGOROD, June 18 (RIA Novosti) – At least five people were injured and some 6,000 local residents were evacuated on Tuesday from a village near an ammunition depot in central Russia where a fire caused massive explosions of stored artillery shells, the Emergencies Ministry said.
The fire at the Volga Federal Ammunition Testing Site in the Samara region broke out late Tuesday, followed by a series of explosions that continue to rock the area, sending shrapnel flowing to a distance of up to a kilometer from the site, according to the ministry.
“About 6,000 people were evacuated from the immediate vicinity of the depot,” the ministry said. “A search for residents who may have remained in the area is underway,” a ministry spokesman told RIA Novosti.
Earlier reports said five people with shrapnel wounds had been brought to two local hospitals and 34 people were treated for minor injuries at the site.
The spokesman said the depot stores some 6,000 122-mm artillery shells and, in the worst case scenario, the explosions could continue for two or three days.
More than 500 personnel and 100 vehicles have been deployed so far to contain the fire and explosions, the ministry said.
The incident is the latest in a string of fires and explosions at munitions storage and disposal sites that have plagued Russia in the past two years.