New Blast Postpones Inspection of Bulgarian Military Depot

Society | November 16, 2011, Wednesday // 09:23|  views

A thick cloud of smoke is rising above the former military warehouses in central Bulgaria, where explosions are reported for the fourth consecutive day. Photo by 24 Hours daily

The expert inspection at the former military storage facilities near Bulgaria's central town of Sevlievo, planned for Wednesday, has been postponed over reported new blasts.

The last explosion occurred at 7:40 pm Tuesday evening.

On Saturday, around 9 am, explosions occurred at the facilities between Sevlievo and the village of Lovnidol. The area was sealed and secured and remains such.

On Tuesday, robot and two auto-pilot aircraft inspected the warehouse, where the munitions were kept – it was reported that the facility was completely destroyed. About 3 000 caliber-153 projectiles were stored inside.

Experts will be able to enter the premises 24 hours after the last explosion to investigate the cause of the incident.

The six warehouses belong to the private, Sofia-based Emko company. They were purchased in 2008 and later renovated. Only one contained munitions. The warehouses were first sold by the Defense Ministry 10 years ago.

The facilities are aligned with all norms for safe storage of explosives and munitions, police explain, pointing out there are no radioactive substances inside.

Emko deals with repair of munitions, which were stored at the warehouse for utilization.

The ban on any vehicle and people traffic in the 2-km area around the warehouses continues to be in effect.

Measurements of air quality show that all indexes are within the norm and there is no threat of elevated levels of harmful substances. No one had been injured in the blast.

The explosions sent to Sevlievo Saturday Defense Minister, Anyu Angelov, the Chief Secretary of the Interior, Kalin Georgiev, and the Chief of Firefighter Services, Nikolay Nikolov.

It was reported Sunday that arson cannot be ruled out as cause of the explosions.

Back in July 2008, a military storage facility at Chelopechene near Sofia exploded, shocking the Bulgarian capital but luckily claiming no lives.

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Tags: Sevlievo, depot, blast, explosion, Chelopechene, munitions, military storage, Kalin Georgiev, Anyu Angelov, arson

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