Russian ammunition depot fire forces mass evacuation | News | DW | 18.05.2012
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Russian ammunition depot fire forces mass evacuation

Four villages in far-eastern Russia have been evacuated after a fire caused shells at a nearby ammunitions depot to explode. Officials say they will keep their distance from the fire until the explosions stop.

Around 1,800 people were evacuated from their homes in eastern Russia on Friday when a fire broke out at an ammunitions depot, causing shells stored there to explode.

A total of four small villages were evacuated near China's eastern border with Russia, about 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles) north of Vladivostok.

According to officials from the emergency ministry, an attempt to put out the fire would have to wait until the ammunition rounds stopped exploding. The sound of the explosions could be heard a dozen kilometers away.

The Interfax news agency reported that two soldiers working at the base were slightly injured.

Russia's defense ministry said the depot was housing 489 train cars containing 100-millimeter shells. Russian Railways, the operator of Russia's rail network, had closed a section of the Trans-Siberian Railway because of the incident.

mz/tm (AFP, dpa)