A CNN-News 18 report says that all injured have been evacuated and shifted to Wardha hospital.
Fire completely doused
The fire that started at 1 am has been completely doused, said Lt Gen Ranbir Singh. The army has also moved medical teams from Pune to help with the injuries and has also ordered an enquiry to investigate into the incident.
Pulgaon depot responsible for all-India supply of ammo
To put things into perspective, the Pulgaon depot is responsible for the all-India supply of ammunition and explosives after it receives them from agencies including Ordnance Factories and trade sources. It, in turn, issues these to other ammunition depots or field ammunition depots for replenishing of stocks.
Safety of civilians around ammo areas important
Sunil Raman further writes for Firstpost that a fire in 2000 at an ammunition depot in Bharatpur in Rajasthan put the spotlight on the handling of ammunition and the safety of civilians around such locations. And that in the recent years, the defence ministry has been under pressure from local politicians to relax norms on no-go-areas around these ammunition depots.
Several fires at ammunition depots
A Sunil Raman article in Firstpost says that in recent years, there have been several fires at ammunition depots, with the last one in West Bengal's Panagarh, which is also an IAF base that was rocked by explosions in 2010.
CAD in Pulgaon, one among many
A report by the Ministry of Defence detailed that apart from the central ammunition depot in Pulgaon, there are 14 others located in different parts of the country.
CAD also involved in demilitarising ammunition
An earlier report in The Hindu mentioned that the depot, besides storing ammunition reserves, is also involved in demilitarising or disposing the ammunition, after its expiry date. This is naturally a dangerous process and is usually done in open spaces where the demolition explosives are employed, as accidents are common.
Fire under control
Fire caused by primary explosion has been brought under control, according to reports by India Today. The Master general Ordnance will also visit the site.
Sabotage not ruled out
The fire, which injured 20, spread to a number of sheds that housed ammunitions, bombs and other explosive item. Though the cause of the blaze has not been ascertained, the officials have not ruled out sabotage. Some with burn injuries are in a critical condition.
Residents evacuated from nearby villages
A report in The Indian Express mentioned that the area has been cordoned off and that residents from nearby villages were evacuated. Army helicopters were also used to help shift injured security personnel.
Depot stores AK-47s, Brahmos missiles
The ammunition which is stored at the depot in Pulgaon includes AK-47s and BrahMos missiles, reported NDTV.
Have lost 17 brave men to fire at the arms depot in #Pulgaon.May their brave souls RIP & God gv the bereaved strength to overcome this loss.
The arms depot in Pulgaon had recently got an award for using solar energy to dispose of expired ammunition, a report in The Indian Express said.
Vice-President Ansari expresses condolences for the dead
Vice President M Hamid Ansari, who is on a five-day visit to two North African countries – Morocco and Tunisia, condoled the death of Army personnel in the fire at the depot.
"I am deeply grieved to learn about the loss of life in the fire at the central ammunition depot in Pulgaon, Maharashtra. I convey my heartfelt condolences to the members of the bereaved families and pray to the Almighty to give them strength and fortitude to withstand this immense loss. I also wish speedy recovery to the injured," Ansari said.
Did short circuit cause fire?
A report in The Hindu has quoted as saying that the blast may have been caused by a fire which may have been caused by a short circuit.
Five villages evacuated after fire
Eyewitnesses said flames were still rising from parts of the depot. The army as a precaution got five villages evactuated as the fire was spreading. However, some 1,000 men and women from these villages returned to their homes by the afternoon, as reported by IANS.
Aftermath of the fire that broke out at central ammunition depot in Pulgaon (Maharashtra), houses suffered damage. pic.twitter.com/tp8nGGF9hq
The central ammunition depot at Pulgaon is India's biggest ammunition depot as stocks including bombs, grenades, shells, assorted rifles and other explosives from various factories comes here first and is then distributed to various forward areas. Pulgaon is 110 km from Nagpur.
"I am given to understand that Defence Minister will be visiting the site and this itself is an evidence of how serious and concerned is the Central government. My heart goes out to the families of jawans and officers killed and injured in the incident. The nation stands by them," Minister of State in the PMO Jitender Singh said.
Meanwhile, Home Minister Rajnath Singh has condoled the death of Army personnel in the fire at the depot.
"My heart goes out to the families of the officers and jawans who lost their lives in the fire accident at ammunition depot in Pulgaon.
"I pray for the speedy recovery of those who got injured in Pulgaon fire. My condolences to the bereaved families," he said.
Main fire at Pulgaon under control
According to latest reports, while the main fire at the Pulgaon ammunition depot is under control, small fire around the central ammunition depot are still a matter of concern.
Hundreds of families of nearby villages have been evacuated, officials said. "The main fire at one of the sheds has been extinguished. The situation is being stabilised. Secondary fire and explosions is in the process of being controlled," the Army officer said refusing to go into the reasons of the fire.
Several fire engines were pressed into service to douse the fire.
Casualties expected to increase
The casualties, including fatalities and missing persons, is expected to increase even as nightlong fire-fighting efforts continued inside the sprawling CAD.
Report said that the cause of the blaze is not yet known but fire-fighting operations by the defence fire brigade are underway in full swing at what is Asia's second biggest central ammunition depot.
Leaders send their condolences
Condolence messages pour in from all quarters after 20 people were killed in a major fire followed by a blast at the Central Ammunition Depot, Pulgaon, in Wardha district in Maharashtra. The casualties, including fatalities and missing persons, is expected to increase even as nightlong fire-fighting efforts continued inside the sprawling CAD.
I pray for the speedy recovery of those who got injured in Pulgaon fire. My condolences to the bereaved families
Army has ordered an inquiry into the incident. The central ammunition depot at Pulgaon is India's biggest ammunition depot as stocks including bombs, grenades, shells, assorted rifles and other explosives from various factories comes here first and is then distributed to various forward areas.
Parrikar, Army Chief rush to the spot
Following a directive from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who is in Pune, has rushed to the spot. Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag has also headed for the site.
Pained by loss of lives caused by a fire at central ammunition depot in Pulgaon, Maharashtra. My thoughts are with the bereaved families.
In a major fire followed by a blast at India's biggest Central Ammunition Depot at Pulgaon in Maharashtra, 20 Army personnel, including 18 Defence Security Corps jawans and two officers, have been killed.
According to latest reports, Army chief General Dalbir Singh has left for Pulgaon. ANI tweeted:
Army Chief General Dalbir Singh leaves for Pulgaon (Maharashtra) where fire broke out at central ammunition depot killing 17 and injuring 19
The 25 injured are in the ICU at a hospital in Wardha, 40km from Pulgaon, Times Now reported. The fire has now been brought under control. Some of them with burn injuries are in a critical condition, an army officer said.
A screengrab of the fire that broke out at Pulgaon killed 20. Courtesy - CNN News18
The main source of the fire was a shed which caught fire.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked Defence Minister to visit the central ammunition depot in Maharashtra's Pulgaon to take stock of the situation. Modi also expressed pain over the loss of lives caused by the fire and prayed for quick recovery of the injured.
The figure of casualties, including fatalities, is expected to increase even as nightlong fire-fighting efforts continued inside the sprawling CAD. Lt Col R S Pawar and Major K Manoj, were among those who were killed in the fire, reported India Today. The ammunition depot has the highest level of security, the report added.
The ammunition depot at Pulgaon is Asia's second largest weapons depot. According to this report in NDTV, officials said the fire broke out due to secondary explosions around 1 am.
Maharashtra: Fire broke out at Central ammunition Depot in Pulgaon last night,19 injured.Nearby villages evacuated pic.twitter.com/ASPjHmbTBd
"Secondary fire and explosions cannot be ruled out now," the Army officer said refusing to go into the reasons of the fire.
Army has ordered an inquiry into the incident.
The central ammunition depot at Pulgaon is India's biggest ammunition depot as stocks from various factories comes here first and is then distributed to various forward areas. Pulgaon is 110 km from Nagpur.