A major fire broke out on Tuesday morning at India’s biggest arms depot in Pulgoan in Maharashtra. At least 17 security personnel, including two Army officers, were killed in the blaze. Another 19 security personnel are said to be injured in the fire. The Army has now ordered an inquiry into the incident.
According to Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis the fire has been brought under control.
“Instructed Wardha collector to provide all required help in this situation. Also asked collectors of the neighbouring districts to be alert,” said the CM.
The fire is said to have spread to number of sheds that houses ammunitions, bombs and other explosive items.
“The main fire at one of the sheds has been extinguished. The situation is being stabilised. Secondary fire and explosions cannot be ruled out now,” said an Army officer.
Sources said residents of nearby villages have been evacuated and Army helicopters pressed into service to help in the evacuation of the injured security personnel.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also asked Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to visit the site to take stock of situation.
“Pained by loss of lives caused by a fire at central ammunition depot in Pulgaon, Maharashtra. My thoughts are with the bereaved families…. I pray that those who are injured recover quickly,” said the PM in a series of tweets.
Army Chief General Dalbir Singh is also said to be on his way to visit the site. As of now, it is still not known what caused the fire.
Two officers, including a Lieutenant Colonel, and 15 Defence Security Corp (DSC) jawans were among those killed, an Army officer said.
The central ammunition depot at Pulgaon is India’s biggest ammunition depot as stocks from various factories comes here first and is then distributed to various forward areas.
(With inputs from PTI)