Evacuated Residents Return Home after Munitions Blasts in Russia

Residents evacuated on Tuesday after munitions at a military ammunition disposal site exploded near the Donguz rail station in Russia’s Orenburg region have returned to their homes, the governor’s aide, Igor Dmitrachkov, said on Wednesday.

On Tuesday morning, a total of more than 4,000 tons of ammunition exploded, the Investigative Committee’s Chief Military Directorate said. No one was injured in the series of blasts that occurred.

“[The residents] are already back home; they returned last evening,” Dmitrachkov said.

He said that 30 people had been evacuated from the villages of Pervomaisky, Eksperimentalny and Donguz.

Dmitrachkov said a committee has begun evaluating the damage after the blasts.

The military base has been cordoned off with over 200 rescuers and army sappers working at the scene. They will look for unexploded munitions for their subsequent disposal.

The cause of the blasts is still under investigation.

Orenburg Governor Yury Berg said one of the causes is believed to be carelessness of flammable materials by military servicemen.

“This information has been clarified by the Central Military Region’s command. According to one of the versions, the reason for the explosion was carelessness of flammable materials by servicemen,” Berg said at a press conference in Orenburg on Wednesday.

Russia’s Emergencies Ministry, however, told RIA Novosti on Wednesday that the blast was initiated by burning packaging material at the depot.

“While loading munitions at the depot, packaging material was burning and as a result three explosions from ammunition occurred,” a spokesman for the Emergencies Ministry said, adding: “One person was injured.”

Earlier no reports of injuries were reported.

The incident is the latest in a series of blasts involving munitions disposal sites and firing ranges in Russia in the last few years.

Three servicemen were injured in a blast on a military range in Russia’s Far East Khabarovsk Territory on May 30.

On May 18, another person was injured in an ammunition depot fire in the nearby Primorsk Territory.

Last June, huge explosions shook an ammunition depot in Russia’s Urals republic of Udmurtia, leaving 95 people injured.

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