Explosions At 'Mecca Of Ammunition' Leave A Temple Wrecked

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Explosions At 'Mecca Of Ammunition' Leave A Temple Wrecked

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A temple in Agargaon village was damaged due to explosions after Pulgaon ammunition depot fire

Pulgaon: 

Highlights

  1. Eighteen people, including two Army officers, 13 fire-fighters killed
  2. Defence Minister visited Pulgaon, said he did not rule out foul play
  3. Pulgaon is home to the country's biggest military ammunition depot
"Mecca of Ammunition" says a board outside Pulgaon's Central Ammunition Depot, Asia's biggest. A fire there yesterday killed at least 19 people, including two Army officers and many fire-fighters who had rushed to douse the blaze that broke out a little after 1 am.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who visited Pulgaon in north Maharashtra on Tuesday afternoon, said the exact cause of the fire would be known only after inquiry, but added, "We are not ruling out any possibility...there is no sabotage as such." He also said it was "too early to speculate about the cause."

Firemen fought the flames for over six hours, losing at least 13 colleagues one by one. The two Army officers who died, Lt Col RS Pawar and Major K Manoj, the chief security officer of the depot, had rushed towards the flames to prevent crucial ammunition from being blown up. 17 people were injured.
 

Fire at Pulgaon's Central Ammunition Depot yesterday killed 18 people

Two more bodies were recovered today. They are yet to be identified. One person is missing.

As evening descended over Pulgaon, in Maharashtra, on Tuesday, the conversation veered towards the firemen who lost their lives, among them locals.

"Local people are among those firemen who died. There also are those jawans who have retired and are now again in service," said a bespectacled man outside the depot gate.
 
Agargaon village, located at one end of the sprawling 7,000 acre defence property, was one of about 10 villages near the ammunition depot that was evacuated as the fire broke out. By evening the residents were back, but were visibly shaken as they stood outside their homes late into the night.

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"After the explosions we are scared. So people are staying in the open till late," said a villager Visheshwar Kokande, as his wife pointed at their goat and a lamb, adding that the animals too were agitated.

The impact of the explosions nearly 5 km away are clearly visible in the village.
 

At the Bhavani temple in Agargaon village, powerful explosions after Pulgaon depot fire blew off seven window frames of a wall

"The entire house was shaking and there were cracks everywhere. We ran to the temple. The beam came off the ceiling and then uprooted the cement and plaster," said Akash Pandre, 20.
 
At the Bhavani temple where they took shelter, the powerful explosions from the fire blew off seven window frames of a wall. Shattered black glass lay strewn all over. Even metal frames were bent by the vibrations.

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