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Madhya Pradesh: Soaring mercury blamed for explosions at Jabalpur ordnance factory

General manager of the factory says scorching heat might have self-detonated old ammunition

india Updated: Apr 21, 2017 23:30 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Bhopal
Explosions at ordnance factory,Ammunition,Ordnance factory fire
OFK authority says a rise in temperature might have self-detonated stockpile of old ammunition at the factory on Saturday (PTI Photo )

Soaring mercury level has been blamed, prima facie, for series of explosions that sparked fire at the Ordnance Factory Khamaria (OFK) in Jabalpur on Saturday evening.

Senior officials of the factory claimed the scorching heat might have self detonated dumped old ammunition.

OFK general manager AK Agarwal told HT that possibly stockpile of over 20-year-old discarded ammunition of 106 mm recoilless guns (RCLs) got detonated itself due to the exorbitant heat as mercury touched 40 degree Celsius on the ill-fated day in Jabalpur, some 320km east of Bhopal.

“But the exact reason will be known only after experts investigate the incident thoroughly,” he added.

He said an inquiry has been ordered and experts would be coming from Pune on Monday to probe the incident.

There were at least 20 to 25 explosions at building 845, where the cache of ammunition, which could no longer be used, was kept.

Agarwal said the building was gutted in the raging fire sparked by the explosions.

There was no injury or any harm to anyone in the incident as the workers had left the factory around 5.30pm, around an hour before the first explosion at 6.24pm.

Indian Ordnance Factories, which functions under defence ministry, is a conglomerate of 41 factories, 9 training institutes, 3 regional marketing centres and 4 regional controller of safety.

OFK is one of the 41 ordnance factories.

Established in 1942, the OFK is the country’s premier ammunition manufacturing organisation. It manufactures ammunition components, hardware, shells, primer and cartridge cases for medium and high caliber ammunitions.

Explosive filling and assembling of medium and high caliber ammunitions and also small arms too are done at the OFK.

First Published: Mar 26, 2017 18:13 IST