Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Saturday, May 26, 2001

Front Page | National | Southern States | Other States | State Elections | International | Opinion | Business | Sport | Entertainment | Miscellaneous | Features | Classifieds | Employment | Index | Home

National | Next

Fire at ammunition depot put out

SURATGARH, MAY 25. The massive fire that broke out in the Army's forward ammunition depot, near here, was put out early today. Preliminary reports indicated that the blaze could have been caused by spontaneous combustion, senior army officers said. Army sources said the fire had almost destroyed the entire forward depot, reported to be storing 8,000 tonnes of T-72 tank shells and 130 mm and 150 mm artillery shells and rockets.

The Army, assisted by the district administration, began mopping up operations to clear the area of spent and live bombs and missiles flung by the blasts triggered by the massive fire.

An official spokesman said the area up to Piperan village, about two km from the depot, was still sealed as most of the explosives fell there.

He said bomb disposal squads were trying to clear all explosives from the area which was likely to be declared out of danger tomorrow. The Birdhwal-Pungal road near the depot was still littered with burnt and live shells and was yet to be opened to traffic, he said. Shells were also found lying along the Indira Gandhi canal, particularly on its left side.

However, no damage was caused to the canal's Biradhwal headwork, but its rest house was extensively damaged. Three more injured Armymen were brought to the Army hospital today for treatment taking the number of injured to eight.

Villagers who were evacuated to safer places had started returning home after the reopening of Bikaner-Ganganagar highway to traffic.

The Vice-Chief of the Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Vijay Oberoi, told newsmen in New Delhi that the fire could have been caused by combustion due to high day temperature.

He said the exact cause of the fire would be known only after a court of inquiry, already set-up to probe the incident, submitted its report. Combustion due to high temperature was cited as cause of Bharatpur ammunition depot fire last year and the more recent one near Pathankot.

- PTI

Send this article to Friends by E-Mail


Section  : National
Next     : Hurriyat has no role in Indo-Pak. talks: BJP

Front Page | National | Southern States | Other States | State Elections | International | Opinion | Business | Sport | Entertainment | Miscellaneous | Features | Classifieds | Employment | Index | Home

Copyrights © 2001 The Hindu

Republication or redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of The Hindu