Nagpur: A massive fire broke out at Central Ammunition Depot (CAD) in Pulgaon near Wardha killing 17 army personnel including two officers. CAD Pulgaon is India's biggest ammunition depot.
At least two officers and 15 Defence Security Corps (DSC) jawans are feared dead, the Army confirmed. The fire also injured 17 other DSC jawans.
While the cause of the fire is yet unknown, reports said that the fire broke out after an explosion at the depot in the early hours – around 1:30-2:00 am - on Tuesday.
Other reports suggest that explosions occurred after a shed at the ammunition dump caught fire.
The fire is said to have been brought under control even as nearby villages have been evacuated as a precautionary measure. Pulgaon is around 110 kms from Nagpur.
The injured have been shifted to hospitals at Wardha, 40 kms from Pulgaon.
The army top brass has ordered a probe into the mishap; Defence minister Manohar Parrikar and Army Chief Dalbir Singh Suhag will visit Pulgaon later today.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the loss of lives in the incident. "Pained by loss of lives caused by a fire at central ammunition depot in Pulgaon, Maharashtra. My thoughts are with the bereaved families. I pray that those who are injured recover quickly. Have asked RM Manohar Parrikar to visit the spot an take stock of the situation," Modi said.
Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis said, "Unfortunate incident. We have suffered a huge loss of lives and property. Have directed district officials to extend whatever help possible," he said, adding that the fire is now under control.