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Military prosecutors launch check into ammunition blasts at Orenburg region firing range

October 09, 2012, 15:56 UTC+3

The circumstances of the accident are being ascertained

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MOSCOW, October 9 (Itar-Tass) — Military prosecutors have launched a check into the explosions of ammunition at a firing range in the Orenburg region.

"The military prosecutors have begun to check the circumstances of the unsanctioned explosions of retired ammunition at the Donguz firing range," a representative of the military prosecutor’s office, Central Military District /TsVO/, told Itar-Tass by telephone on Tuesday.

A group of experienced prosecutors led by TsVO military prosecutor Maj-Gen Yevgeny Ivanov have flown to the scene.

The circumstances of the accident are being ascertained. Orenburg garrison prosecutors are working at the scene.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Defense Ministry told Tass there were no casualties.

"A check of the personnel of the unit involved in unloading ammunition at the Donguz range found that all the servicemen are accounted for, and at a safe distance from the place of the accident. None has been injured," the Defense Ministry underlined.

The Ministry also noted that "by the moment of the explosion there were no railway cars with ammunition at the drop-off station. A monitoring of the neighboring settlements did not detect damage to houses and other structures or their windows."

The explosions have stopped by now. Firefighting teams are putting out the fires of dry vegetation in the adjacent area. Taking part in the rescue effort are 211 people and 52 units of equipment.

The firing range is located 40 kilometers from the regional center and 15 kilometers from the railway station of Donguz.

The regional department of the Emergency Situations Ministry said the residents of the Eksperimentalny, Chisty and Pervomaisky would be accommodated at the evacuation centers in the villages off Nezhinka and Ivanovka. Ten buses have been allocated for the transportation of people.

Engineers are inspecting the terrain for unexploded shells.

Other reports said A Tashkent-Moscow train with 600 passengers was stopped.

The regional emergency situations department reported that the explosion occurred because of the fire that broke out when the obsolete ammunition was unloaded.

It is not the first such accident at military facilities of the Central Military District in the past two years.

On September 26, an officer was killed during the demolition of obsolete ammunition at the Totsky range 180 kilometers northwest of Orenburg.

On June 2, 2011, a fire broke out at a Defense Ministry's depot in Udmurtia. It triggered explosions in which three people were killed and another 100 were injured.

On May 26, 2011, 12 persons were hurt in a fire at an ammunition depot in Bashkortostan. The fire was contained the next day.

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