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Huge fire at Indian munitions depot

KOLKATA, Mar 26 – A fire ripped through one of the Indian army\’s largest ammunition depots on Friday, destroying 150 tonnes of explosives and ammunition, military sources said.

Military spokesman Mahesh Upasani said the blaze broke out at the Panagarh army base 120 kilometres (75 miles) west of Kolkata at 1:30 am but had since been brought under control.

People living in the area reported hearing a series of huge explosions that went on for more than an hour.

"It was an incredible sound," Kashinath Chatterjee, who lives in Bud Bud village nearby, told AFP by telephone. "Panicked villagers came out of their homes and stood on the highway."

An army crisis management team had been sent to the depot to investigate the source of the fire and ascertain the damage.

"There has been no loss of life or injuries and the fire was brought under control within two hours," Upasini, wing commander of the Eastern Command, said in Kolkata, capital of West Bengal state.

A military source told AFP around 150 tonnes of small arms ammunition and explosives were destroyed.

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