Russian Arms Depot Blasts Force Evacuation Of 12,000

Authorities in central Russia are battling a fire raging through an arms depot storingĀ  around 10,000 tons of shells that forced the evacuation of more than 12,000 people.

Emergencies Ministry spokesman Mikhail Surkov said that as a result of the nighttime blaze at the arms depot near the city of Izhevsk in the Volga region of Udmurtia, three people received burns and were hospitalized.

Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said separately that the military sustained no casualties.

Explosions at military weapons depots are relatively common in Russia and are often linked to aging equipment and lax enforcement of safety rules.

Late last month, a similar fire at a munitions depot in the region of Bashkortostan triggered explosions and forced the evacuation of thousands of residents.

compiled from agency reports

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