6 Killed In Blast at Prvi Partizan Ammunition Factory
Belgrade, Serbia –-(AmmoLand.com)- At least six people, possibly seven, were killed on Thursday evening in a series of explosions at the Prvi Partizan Ammunition munitions factory at Uzice in western Serbia, police said.
Police, firefighters and the military sealed off the area around the Prvi Partizan ammunition factory in the town of Uzice, some 100 miles west of the capital Belgrade, said Deputy Interior Minister Predrag Maric.
“Rescuers found six bodies inside an ammunition loading facility. That’s the death toll. The injured people have been admitted to hospital,” Mr Maric said.
Another 10 people were hospitalized due to injuries in the four explosions at the Prvi Partizan ammunition factory in the town of Uzice, some 200 km southwest of the capital Belgrade, the Serbian national television reported.
The TV report said that the explosions occurred around 10 p.m. local time (20:00 GMT) Thursday in an underground part of the factory. Police said firefighters had put out the resulting fires and there is no danger of more explosions.
Mr Maric said firefighters had “doused the fires and there is no danger of more explosions”. He did not elaborate about the causes of the blast pending the end of the initial investigation.
An investigation has been launched to determine the cause of the explosions.
Interior Minister Ivica Dacic was on his way to the site, said a ministry spokeswoman.
Prvi Partizan is Serbia’s largest ammunition factory. It produces military and hunting ammunition as well as gun powder and explosives.
Prvi Partizan, which employs around 600 people, has been Serbia’s major ammunition factory for 80 years, producing military and hunting ammunition as well as gun powder and explosives.
None of the machinery at the plant was damaged, but other damage was caused by activation of the sprinkler system which resulted in a flood that will delay production. It is estimated that production and shipping will be delayed approximately 2-3 weeks.
Serbian defense industries have stepped up production in past two years, mainly exporting to Iraq, Libya, the United States and Burma. The total value of export deals in 2008 exceeded $600 million.
Serbian Defence Minister Dragan Sutanovac said last week that Serbia had secured a $100 million export deal for weapons and military equipment to Iraq.