Soldiers die in Indian army depot fire

A fire blazes at a major Indian Army ammunition depot in Khandroo, some 88 kms south of the summer capital Srinagar, 11 August 2007.Image copyright

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There have been a number of fires in army ammunition depots in India

Seventeen Indian soldiers have been killed in a massive fire at a military ammunition depot in western Maharashtra state, army officials say.

The fire in the depot at Pulgaon near Nagpur triggered a number of explosions, leading to the evacuation of people from neighbouring villages.

Firefighters are trying to put out the blaze, in which at least 19 people have also been injured. The dead include two army officers

The cause of the fire is still unknown.

The fire broke out early on Tuesday and spread quickly through the depot.

Reports said about 1,000 villagers had been evacuated as shells and splinters ripped through the area.

There have been several such incidents at army ammunition depots in recent years.

In 2010, a fire at one of the largest depots in eastern Panagarh triggered a series of explosions but caused no injuries.

In 2007, thousands of Kashmiri villagers living in Anantnag district were evacuated after a huge fire broke out at a depot, injuring at least 25 people.

And in 2000, a fire at an ammunition depot in Bharatpur in northern India claimed two lives and caused losses of nearly $90m (£61m).

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