25 people still missing in ordnance depot fire
25 people, including an army officer and ten jawans, remained untraced after army's ordnance depot caught fire in J&K.india Updated: Aug 13, 2007 17:00 IST
25 people, including an army officer and ten jawans, remained untraced after the blaze over the weekend engulfed army's ordnance depot in Jammu and Kashmir even as displaced villagers ransacked a relief camp on Monday after rumours spread that 13 bodies were lying in the ammunition facility.
The army, meanwhile, said it would press 100 bomb disposal squads to clear shells from civilian areas around the 21 field ordnance depot here where a major blaze left four persons dead and 25 others injured.
Giving details of those missing, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Northern Command Lt Gen H S Panag told reporters that an army officer, nine jawans, 13 fire fighters and two civilian labourers are yet to be traced.
However, he said nothing can be said about the fate of the missing persons at the moment. They might be alive and holed up in the buildings as 50 to 60 per cent of the 25 structures inside the camp are intact.
Asked about the cause of the incident, he said preliminary investigation has revealed that there was a fire accident inside shed number 16 where Major Tarun Kumar and six jawans had gone.
The fire spread to a nearby shed housing white phosphorus which led to a chain of explosions.
As far as the cause of initial fire, it will be known in due course of investigation. An inquiry has already been ordered in this regard, he said.
Villagers in the area, meanwhile, ransacked the Achabal town hall, which was converted into a relief camp by the government to provide them shelter after rumours spread that 13 dead bodies were lying in the depot.