Accident Reporting May 2021 - December 2021
Three injured in explosion at Sloboda ammunition plant (Serbia, Cacak, 19 June 2021)
Three workers sustained light injuries in a strong explosion that rocked at the Sloboda ammunition plant's facilities in the Serbian town of Cacak on Saturday evening, state RTS television reported. Police blocked access to the factory and ambulances and fire fighters were seen nearby, a Reuters reporter at the site said, adding there was a smell of explosives in the air but no fire could be seen.
The mayor of Cacak ordered the evacuation of people living near the factory, RTS reported. The three injured workers were hospitalised."There was a huge blast, and the house shook under us and then we saw a huge mushroom cloud," said a man who lives near the factory and identified himself as Milorad, 60. He said he did not want to evacuate. The investigation was under way, the authorities said.
This is the second explosion this month at the Sloboda plant, which produces home appliances as well as artillery ammunition, propellants and explosives. No one was hurt in the previous blast, which occurred at the plant's warehouse. A similar blast in 2003 killed three Sloboda workers, while one in 2010 also caused no casualties.
One killed in explosion at recycling company (US, Mississippi, Jones Country, 4 August 2021)
An employee with a recycling company in Jones County was in his first week on the job when he was killed in an explosion Wednesday morning. The explosion happened while workers were breaking down tires for scrap at Moselle Recycling on Job R Lane.
The owner of the business, Shannon Jarrell, said the workers were sitting down taking a break when something nearby exploded. Jones County Deputy Medical Examiner Ernest Hollingsworth said one of the men, 35-year-old James Keyes, sustained severe injuries to his lower body and died. Jarrell said this was just the man’s third day on the job. She said her thoughts and prayers go out to his family.
Authorities have not said what caused the explosion, but officials with the Mississippi State Fire Marshal’s Office were on the scene investigating.
Several killed in blasts at arms depot (Kazakhstan, Jambyl, Taraz, 26 August 2021)
A series of blasts triggered by a fire at a military base in the Jambyl region in southern Kazakhstan killed nine servicemen and wounded 90 people, officials said Friday. According to the country's defense minister, the soldiers died while trying to put out the fire which triggered some 10 blasts. The blaze quickly spread to storage facilities where engineering ammunition is stored. The ministry counted six blasts but other reports suggested there were up to 10. Videos showed a large fire and a tall column of smoke emanating from the depot.
The Jambyl regional government said that of more than 90 who received treatment for injuries, 28 remained in hospital with six in serious condition. All of the casualties were members of the military or rescue workers, the Kazakh agency Tengrinews reported.
Local authorities evacuated people from the villages closest to the site of the accident. More than 1,000 people had to temporarily leave their homes and a railway line was closed. The main road linking the province to Almaty, the country's business hub and biggest city, was shut.
The exact cause of the incident has not been established but Defense Minister Nurlan Yermekbayev has offered to resign. Some of the munitions stored at the Soviet-era depot had been transferred from another depot in the adjacent Turkestan region, where three lethal explosions took place in the last decade. In one incident in 2019, authorities had to evacuate a whole town of 44,000 people.
Miscalculation of fireworks weight in containment vessel (US, Los Angeles, 14 September 2021)
Los Angeles police badly miscalculated the amount of fireworks they placed into a containment vessel before detonating them and causing a massive explosion that destroyed part of a South L.A. neighborhood in June, according to a new report from federal investigators.
“It was caused by overloading the [total containment vessel] with more explosives than the TCV was designed for,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Michael Hoffman, of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, during a closed-door meeting with local residents Monday night. “That’s what caused the failure.”
Hoffman said the ATF had ruled out other causes for the explosion, such as degradation of the containment vessel over time or a malfunctioning of its door, and determined the overloading of the vessel was the sole cause for the blast that destroyed dozens of homes, cars and businesses.
Hoffman said the LAPD’s containment vehicle was designed to handle repeated detonations of 19 pounds of TNT equivalent at a time, or a single detonation of 33 pounds of explosives before being returned to its manufacturer for analysis. However, investigators determined that LAPD bomb squad technicians accidentally loaded and detonated 39.8 pounds of explosives in the containment vehicle on the day of the explosion, Hoffman said.
Several killed in explosion in Russian gunpowder plant (Russia, Ryazan region, Lesnoy, 22 October 2021)
A deadly explosion at an ammunition disposal plant in Russia's western Ryazan province on Friday killed at least 17 people, Russia's official news agency TASS reported. The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation said a criminal investigation had been launched into the blast. According to Reuters, an entire shift of workers was at the site when the brick building was ripped apart.
Emergency services were alerted at 8:22 a.m. Moscow time to a fire at the Shilovsky district, Lesnoy village, Ryazan region, Russia's Ministry of Emergency Situations said. Officials believe the fire started at one of the plant's gunpowder workshops, the ministry said.
A video circulating on social media on Friday purportedly shows the moment the blast happened, with a yellow fireball rising in the air from the brick building. Images from the disaster showed scattered, charred debris as smoke billows over a demolished building.
"The body of the 17th victim was taken out from under the rubble of the workshop. Search and rescue operations at the explosion site have been completed, there are no more people under the rubble," TASS cited the emergency services as saying.
Regional Governor Nikolay Lubimov declared October 25 a day of mourning in the Ryazan region, which lies to the southeast of Moscow, for those killed in the blast and insisted more needed to be done to ensure the safety of those working in "hazardous industries."
"This is an egregious case, and everything possible must be done so that nothing like this will happen again. Both in hazardous industries and in those that are lower in hazard class, but can pose a threat to the life and health of people," he said. Lubimov said he would recommend that authorities carry out unscheduled inspections at such facilities.
A statement from the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation said officials would check the plant's compliance with safety standards for hazardous production facilities. The investigation will also consider what may have caused the fire, it said.
Munition trailer accident (The Netherlands, Huis ter Heide, 27 October 2021)
A trailer loaded with military munitions overturned along the Kolonievaart near Huis ter Heide, Drenthe, on Wednesday morning. The road was closed, and emergency workers secured the area within a 300 meter radius of the vehicle.
The trailer contained bullets for rifles and pistols, as well as mortar grenades, spokespersons for the Drenthe Security Region and the Ministry of Defense confirmed. The Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) from the Ministry of Defense was at the scene to safely clean up the munitions. Defense Ministry personnel were attempting to account for all items on the cargo list, a process which could last well into the evening.
The ministry was investigating whether the ammunition is damaged or is still safe to transport. Several pallets of ammunition fell from the trailer. The Marechaussee, a branch of the military, said that the ammunition was scattered all over the road, the shoulder, and in the water adjacent to the scene. Navy divers were brought in to determine how to safely retrieve material from the water.
The reason for the accident was not known late Wednesday morning. The truck driver was able to climb out of the cab safely and was not injured. Images from local media showed that the overturned trailer was a total loss. The safety region asked bystanders to keep away from the truck, and to give emergency crews space to do their jobs.
The truck was en route from an ammunition depot in nearby Veenhuizen when the accident took place. Initially, an area of one kilometer around the accident site was cordoned off, but the Marechaussee said this was adjusted to 300 meters. Three homes were also evacuated. The exact number of people who had to leave their homes was not stated, nor was a potential reception site.
Explosion at Rheinmetal Denel Munitions’ plant (South Africa, Somerset West, 1 November 2021)
A large explosion and fire at Rheinmetall Denel Munitions’ Somerset West facility woke many residents on Sunday night but no injuries were sustained in the incident. Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM) chief executive Jan-Patrick Helmsen said in a statement that a fire broke out at about 23:00 at the Somerset West facility’s N86 magazine building. An explosion and fireball lit up the night sky, and was captured on traffic and surveillance cameras across the area.
RDM said the fire was extinguished by its internal fire department and the City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Service, “who reacted in line with all of our safety protocols.” RDM said no injuries or casualties were reported.
“The cause of the fire has not yet been determined, however, police are currently on the scene and we are working closely with them”. “A thorough investigation will be conducted to determine the events leading up to the fire. We will share further information as it becomes available to us,” RDM said.
The explosion comes as the Department of Employment and Labour is conducting a public inquiry into a 2018 explosion at RDM’s Somerset West facility that killed eight workers. Darren Olivier, Director at African Defence Review, noted that a second explosion in just three years means that serious questions need to be asked about RDM’s safety culture and protocols. “But even so I don’t believe though that there’s a need to close the facility, provided the city and other organisations do their job in enforcing regulations.”
Ammunition truck on fire (US, Wisconsin, Portage County, 11 November 2021)
In another blow to an already dwindling supply chain, a semitrailer carrying ammunition for Fleet Farm caught fire Tuesday night in Portage County. Firefighters battled 20-foot flames after responding about 6 p.m. to the east lanes of U.S. 10 near the border of Portage and Waupaca counties, according to Amherst Fire District Chief Victor Voss.
Voss said flames were more than 20 feet high when firefighters arrived, and there was about a pallet of ammunition in the trailer. He said the explosions sounded like firecrackers. “It’s not like a projectile fired out of a gun, it’s more like shrapnel,” Voss said. “The casing explodes, and pieces fly in different directions.”
Fire crews with protective gear used more than 19,000 gallons of water to extinguish the blaze. Voss said the semitrailer collapsed, so they had to use a backhoe to get into the trailer and extinguish the flames inside. Voss said the semi was a delivery truck for Fleet Farm. It was carrying everything from bird seed to ammunition.
The accident occurred as gun store workers and hunters said it has been the most difficult year to find ammo in more than a decade. They said the shortage is a result of several factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain issues with manufacturers, new gun ownership, panic buying and hoarding, and political messaging.
He said no one was injured, but the trailer and its contents were a total loss. He did not have a dollar amount for the damage estimate. “Fortunately no one got hurt, and everything can be replaced,” he said.
Explosions in Serbian Munitions Factory (Serbia, 23 November 2021)
A series of explosions has ripped through a munitions factory on the outskirts of Belgrade, killing at least two workers and injuring at least 16.
Hundreds of rockets and 30 kilograms of explosives were stored at the factory. The explosions could be heard more than 15 kilometres away in the centre of Belgrade. Rescue teams are using drones to search for more victims.
Police said the first explosion happened about 2pm at Serbian turbojet and rocket engine maker EDePro, which produces several sorts of munitions. The blasts could be heard in the centre of the Serbian capital 15 kilometres away. Police said rescuers were using drones to look for more victims. Firefighters rescued five people from the rubble, they said.
State media RTS said about 40 people were inside the warehouse when the explosion happened. The injured workers were transferred to hospitals in Belgrade with severe burns. More people are unaccounted for.
The warehouse, where 500 rockets and 30 kilograms of explosives were stored, was completely destroyed, leaving a crater in the ground, footage from the scene showed. The fire had been localised and residents in the area were safe, police said. Media have reported that the detonation shattered windows in homes nearby. Dozens of firefighters were immediately dispatched to the scene, which is south of Belgrade. Police and firefighters sealed off the area where thick billowing smoke was seen. Several vehicles at the plant's car park were on fire. The factory was the scene of another explosion in 2008 when three workers were injured.