ORENBURG, June 11 (Itar-Tass) —— Two people are missing as a result of fire at an arms depot in the Orenburg region on Monday, June 11.
“The fate of two servicemen is being investigated,” a source in law enforcement agencies told Itar-Tass.
No official confirmation of this information could be obtained.
“There are no casualties among the military or artillery depot personnel. According to updated information, one serviceman was hospitalised with carbon monoxide poisoning,” the Defence Ministry said. It was reported earlier that he had received light brain contusion.
Doctors say that his life is out of danger.
Meanwhile, the authorities are evacuating the local population from the four settlements in the Orenburg region and three settlements in the neighbouring Samara region.
The operation involves 355 people and 68 pieces of machinery of the Emergencies Ministry. “All 81 children and adults evacuated from the children’s camp in Partizansky have already been accommodated and provided with hot meals,” the chief spokesman for the Volga Regional Centre of the Emergencies Ministry, Oleg Zugeyev, told Itar-Tass.
He confirmed that artillery ammunition continues to explode at the arms depot.
Zugeyev said explosions occur every five minutes or more. “This is the reason why local people do not want to leave their homes,” he added.
The regional department of the Emergencies Ministry told Itar-Tass earlier that fragments of exploded ammunition fly as far as 4 kilometres from the depot. The nearest settlement is 14 kilometres away.
No casualties have been reported among the civilian population.
Two armoured maintenance and education vehicles and 25 specially trained contract servicemen are ready to start fighting the fire. Measures are being taken to prevent the fire from spreading to the nearby forest.
Orenburg Region Governor Yuri Berg has flown to the scene of the incident urgently.
Two planes of the Emergencies Ministry have arrived at the scene of the incident to help fight the fire. They can dump 42 and 12 tonnes of water at a time respectively. A third plane with five psychologists, 28 specialists from the Lider centre and four rescuers aboard has just flown out of Ramenskoye outside Moscow.
The press service of the Main Department of the Emergencies Ministry in the Orenburg Region said a fire train has been dispatched from Samara to the scene of the incident.
The fire started at an artillery ammunition depot 14 kilometres from the town of Koltubanovsky.
The depots belong to one of the military units and occupy an area of 83 hectares. They are made of reinforced concrete. The fire was first reported in the Buzuluk District at 16:20 Moscow time.
Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov has sent a commission led by his deputy, General of the Army Dmitry Bulgakov to the scene of the incident.