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Arsenal Blast Rocks Central Turkish Province, Some Feared Dead

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Published on Sep 5, 2012

A huge blast rocked central Turkish province of Afyonkarahisar late on Wednesday, leaving several injured when a military arsenal filled with hand grenades exploded.

The blast occurred between Ataköy neighborhood and Kanlıca village of Afyonkarahisar, close to residential areas but in an isolated territory. Initial reports claimed that the blast occurred due to a mistake made by officers while classifying the hand grenades.

Witnesses said people evacuated their houses, assuming an earthquake was happening. The raging fire could be seen from around the city.

Dozens of ambulances, fire fighters and search and rescue teams were dispatched to military base but their operation capacity is limited due to the security measures.
Officials said the area where the blast took place is a strictly isolated area for military purposes. Authorities limit fire fighters' and health workers' work, fearing that subsequent blasts could worsen the situation.

Forestry Minister Veysel Eroğlu said in a written statement there could be many hand grenades scattered in the area. He said helicopters could join to fight the fire if necessary. He also added in the statement that there are nearly 20 believed to be injured.

Turkish TV networks said in unconfirmed reports that there could be at least 30 people, mostly officers, when the explosion took place. Search and rescue teams could save four officers and three civilians from the area.

City officials say they have no information as to how many people were trapped inside the area and that bomb squads are currently scanning the area to see if there are grenades posing dangers. Authorities said some inside the military arsenal could be dead and they have no information over the fate of those inside.

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