October 9, 2018 – Up to three blasts per second rocked a munitions depot near the city of Chernigov in northern Ukraine. More than 10,000 people were evacuated from the area, which was put on lockdown for air and land travel.
The first reports of explosions at the arsenal in the town of Ichnia came in at about 3.30am. Five depots of the arsenal were still engulfed by the inferno in the afternoon.
The powerful blasts smashed doors and windows in nearby areas, according to locals’ comments on social media. Terrified people have been posting images of the night sky lit up by the apparent explosions.
In one social media video, loud bangs can be heard in the background, as fire can be seen raging. More than 60 people reportedly came to local hospitals seeking help. However, Ukraine’s military maintains there were no casualties among troops and civilians.
More than 10,000 people have been evacuated from some 30 towns in the affected area. Airspace within 20 km (12 miles) from the depot has been closed, while rail and road traffic have been temporarily put on lockdown.
The military deployed a firefighting tank to battle the blaze and is to send four more to the scene. Emergency service crews, national police and the National Guard have all been alerted.
The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) is looking at sabotage as a possible explanation for the incident. Prosecutors meanwhile say that a serviceman’s negligence could have led to the “grave consequences.”