Residents Evacuated After Orenburg Explosions
Published: October 10, 2012 (Issue # 1730)
MOSCOW — Three train cars carrying ammunition to an Orenburg region military base exploded Tuesday, sending a white cloud of smoke into the air and causing emergency workers to evacuate thousands of residents from the surrounding area.
As a result of the explosions, which took place at the Donguzsky base at about 1 p.m. local time, up to 10,000 residents of two nearby towns were being evacuated Tuesday afternoon, emergency officials told Interfax. It was not immediately clear whether there were casualties in the incident, but Interfax reported that ambulances and rescuers had set out for the base.
When questioned about the cause of the explosions, emergency officials told RIA-Novosti that they were triggered by a fire at the Donguzsky base’s ammunition-loading station.
Local media said the explosions shattered windows and felled trees in the adjacent town of Donguz and that traffic on local roads was at a standstill to allow firefighters and ambulances to access the military base.
In Orenburg, the regional capital located some 30 kilometers from the scene of the explosions, residents reported feeling shockwaves.
In a video shot in Orenburg and posted on YouTube, a white smoke cloud can be seen rising on the horizon. Minutes into the clip, a loud crack is heard, setting off car alarms in the vicinity.
This is not the first time that discarded ammunition has exploded at the Donguzsky base. Six soldiers have suffered injuries in minor incidents since late August, Gazeta.ru reported.