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Fire Sets Off Blasts at Ammo Warehouse in Far East

The town of Sungach is near the border with China, almost 300 kilometers northeast of Vladivostok.

A fire at an ammunition warehouse northeast of Vladivostok early Friday set off a series of explosions, injuring a soldier and prompting the evacuation of area residents, the Emergency Situations Ministry said in a statement.

The blasts went on for hours, leading the fire to intensify through early afternoon and preventing firefighters from getting near the storage facility. Residents of towns dozens of kilometers away could hear the explosions going off, Interfax reported, citing blogs of people living there.

In early evening, a Defense Ministry spokesman told Interfax that the detonations appeared to have stopped. The Emergency Situations Ministry said an amphibious aircraft able to collect water from open sources had been sent to help extinguish the blaze.

More than 1,800 residents of the towns of Zelenodolskoye, Dukhovskoye, Novo-Rusanovka and Sungach were evacuated as a result of the blasts. Earlier, it had been reported that around 700 people had been evacuated.

The town closest to the munitions depot is Sungach, located 280 kilometers northeast of Vladivostok in the Far East, near the border with China.

There have been more than 10 explosions at ammunition warehouses in Russia in the last three years, resulting in hundreds of injuries and more than a dozen deaths, Interfax reported.

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