Firefighters tackle massive blaze at Indonesian ammunition store

Credit: REUTERS/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana

By Yuddy Cahya Budiman

BOGOR, Indonesia, March 30 (Reuters) - Indonesian firefighters were battling to put out a massive fire that broke out on Saturday at a military ammunition depot just outside the capital, causing a series of explosions and sending flames and smoke into the night sky.

No one was reported to have died or been injured in the incident, military official Mohammad Hasan told reporters at the scene, saying the fire had started in a part of the facility that was used to store expired ammunition.

"We've checked the location, perimeters, there are no fatalities," Hasan told a press conference near the site in Bogor, on the outskirts of Jakarta.

"The expired ammunitions contain chemicals that can be unstable ... There could have been some frictions that sparked the fire," he said.

Army official Kristomei Sianturi said authorities had started extinguishing the fire several hours after it started, at 6.30 p.m. (1130 GMT).

Firefighters and paramedics were not initially able to reach the scene, according to local media reports.

Footage broadcast by local network KompasTV showed orange flames and billowing clouds of smoke rising into the night sky, while loud explosions could be heard from several kilometres (miles) away.

Local resident Arga Nanda told KompasTV he had heard a loud explosion that shook doors and windows. People ran out into the streets thinking it was an earthquake, he said.

Kristomei said authorities were evacuating people from nearby neighbourhoods. He also warned residents not to touch any objects that may be been blown outwards by explosions.

(Additional reporting by Fransiska Nangoy and Jakarta bureau Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor, William Maclean and Helen Popper)

((fransiska.nangoy@tr.com;))

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