MOSCOW, June 19 (RIA Novosti) – The Defense Ministry is setting up a field camp and preparing to send a firefighting “tank” into a central Russian military facility where a large fire erupted Tuesday evening amid multiple explosions that tore through the site and sent shrapnel flying over a kilometer.
The tank will survey the situation on the ground and make preparations for a special operation to extinguish the fire by dumping massive amounts of water from the air, the ministry said in a statement Wednesday.
Some 6,500 residents, including 800 children, have been evacuated from the surrounding community, near the city of Chapayevsk, in Russia’s Samara region. Thirty-four people have been injured, and at least one person has died, the governor said Wednesday.
A local official told RIA Novosti on Wednesday that there were more than 3,000 unexploded shells at the facility, a military testing ground, and the fire could last another two or three days.
President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday criticized the safety precautions that had been taken at the site, as well as Russia’s ammunition disposal practice in general. “These events … show that safety measures and ammunition disposal techniques are insufficient,” he said.