Accident Reporting Overview 2015

February 1, 2015, Krasny Chaban (Ukraine)

Six Ukrainian servicemen were killed and eleven suffered from thermal injuries after a fire and explosion of munitions took place at a military camp in Krasny Chaban in the Kherson region. -

February 23, 2015, Ahuatepec (Mexico)

Two people were killed and one was injured in an explosion at an ammunition factory in Ahuatepec, a city in the central Mexican state of Morelos. The explosion caused a fire that was brought under control. Investigators are trying to determine the cause of the accident. The factory belongs to Industrias Tecnos and makes ammunition for .22-caliber and other hunting rifles.

March 29, 2015, Aden (Yemen)

A series of heavy explosions have ripped through an arms depot in Yemen’s southern port city of Aden, causing at least 14 casualties. According to residents, the loud blasts shook houses, shattered many windows and destroyed several nearby buildings. Plumes of smoke were rising from the depot which is located at the foot of Jabal Hadid, a mountain near Aden. A large amount of Soviet era weapons were reportedly kept at a cave in the depot that saw looting by residents a day earlier. Witnesses also said that at the time of the blasts many people were in the depot, which was abandoned by the troops guarding it this week, or climbing on Jabal Hadid. The incident came amid growing violence in Yemen.

April 21, 2015, Kandahar (Afghanistan)

At least one person has been killed and 15 injured in an explosion near a police station in Kandahar, the capital of the southern Afghan province of the same name. Police were defusing the explosives seized from the Taliban today in Kandahar city that suddenly exploded. One civilian passerby was killed, while five civilians and five police officers were injured.

July 23, 2015, Coast of Virginia, US

SM-2 Missile Explodes Shortly After Launch from a Guided Missile Destroyer

A US Navy guided missile destroyer was damaged by a surface-to-air missile that exploded shortly after launch during an exercise off the U.S. Atlantic coast on Saturday USNI Reports.

The US Navy confirmed that a Raytheon made Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) test missile exploded after suffering a malfunction as it was fired from the guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) during a planned missile exercise off the coast of Virginia. There were no injuries and only minor damage to the port side of the ship resulting from missile debris. The ship returned to Naval Station Norfolk for assessment. 

The Navy said an investigation into the malfunction has been ordered and is being conducted by the Navy’s Program Executive Office for Integrated Warfare Systems, which is part of Naval Sea Systems Command. It is too early to determine what, if any, effect this will have on the ship’s schedule.

July 23, 2015, Pinnow (Germany)

Nammo Buck had an accident with two detonations.  During the first detonation one employee was seriously injured and urgently sent to a specialist hospital. When the second detonation went off one other employee and two firemen got slight injuries and were transported to the local hospital. In addition to this, two persons from the rescue team have later been reported treated for trauma. 

The accident happened during testing and preparation of work to demilitarize old and obsolete ammunition. The cause of the accident has not yet been concluded. An internal investigation team has been established to find the cause of the accident and the local Police are doing their external investigation.

All company procedures for safety, security and reporting were followed during and after the incident. The factory reopened on Monday July 27. The seriously injured employee is still in hospital. According to the latest information his condition is stable.

August 12, 2015, Tianjin (China)

At the container storage site of Ruihai Logistics in the Port of Tianjin a fire was followed by two devastating explosions. Smaller explosions took place in the days after.  The US geological survey located in Beijing reported the largest explosions to be of a Richter magnitude of 2.3 and 2.9, corresponding to 3 and 21 tons of TNT respectively.

The ammonium nitrate stored at the site was likely involved in the explosions. A comparison between the situation before and after shows a sizeable crater and containers thrown away over a large area. Some recordings were made of the huge fireball. 


Ruihai Logistics before, during, and after the explosion. Fire ball recordings ( Crater diameter estimated at 85m [Cann, 2015]

The size of the crater (85m diameter) suggests a much larger equivalent mass of TNT involved. Uncertainty with respect to soil type and presence of asphalt gives a wide range of predictions but 180 tonnes has been mentioned as the most likely by [Cann, 2015].

Vast areas of the port were devastated. Over a hundred people were killed and many hundreds injured. Damage to buildings and cars was reported as a far as two-and-a-half miles from the scene. An analysis of window breakage by ARUP led to an estimate between 30 and 50 tons of TNT. However, due to the many uncertainties in the analysis (such as window properties and shielding effects by other buildings) an upper limit can be as high as 800 to 1000 tonnes of TNT. The economic damage of the accident was estimated by chinese insurance companies as 1 to 1.5 billion $. Toyota, which has two nearby sites, had two weeks of production losses (about 200 million $).


Unstrengthened building at 150m (severe damage) , buses behind railway station at 550 m (cracked laminated windows), apartment block at 1.2 km (all windows broken), wantong new town at 2 km (close to window breakage threshold)

If this accident indeed involved ammonium nitrate, it follows other recent accidents with this fertilizer: truck accident in Queensland , Australia (2014), fertilizer plant fire and explosion in West, Texas, USA (2013), AZF fertilizer plant explosion in Toulouse, France (2001). This raises questions related to storage conditions, appropriate separation distance to incompatible goods, emergency response plans, and communication with fire brigade.

*The data used in this text has been based on a publication by Nigel Cann (ARUP), Tianjin Explosions – 12 August 2015, Analysis, Thoughts and what it means for you, wikipedia and youtube.

August 24, 2015, Sagamihara (Japan)

Multiple explosions and a large fire damaged a US Army depot (Sagami General Depot) in Sagamihara, a city about 40 km southwest of Tokyo. Injuries have not been reported. The building that exploded was storing compressed nitrogen, oxygen, freon and air. Photos taken after daybreak and released by the US Army show dozens of gray canisters lying on the floor, and what looks like mangled storage racks. The walls of the one-story, concrete building remained intact, but the windows and doors are damaged and about half of the roof collapsed.


Remaining grey canisters and collapsed roof after explosions in Sagami general depot (source: the guardian)

September 9, 2015, Policske (Czech Republic)

An explosion took place in the Policske Strojirny ammunition factory, 150 km east of Prague. Firefighters got control of the fire after the explosion, which was said to involve 320 tons of gun powder. Some parts of the factory where found in a forest at 200 m from the explosion. 2 workers suffered from burns. Authorities are investigating the case. In the mean time no further information has been published online.

September 28, San Juan Opico (El Salvador)

At least 13 people were injured after a series of explosions in an explosives warehouse in San Juan Opico, 30 km northwest of San Salvador. Indications suggest that a spark generated by welding near the warehouse set off the explosions. Both soldiers and civilians were injured, and were taken to hospital for evaluation.

At the request of the offices of the Minister of Defense and the Attorney General of El Salvador, the International Response Team (IRT) of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) will provide support in the investigation. The ATF team of approximately 20 members, will arrive in El Salvador to conduct a post-blast scene investigation, including scene reconstruction, interviews, and sifting through debris to obtain evidence related to the explosion. The team will work in close coordination with the Salvadoran Attorney General, Ministry of Defense and the National Civil Police. No further information has been published online yet.

October 19, 2015, Jyväskylä (Finland)

Nammo’s Vihtavuori Propellant Plant close to Jyväskylä had an accident on 19 October 2015. One employee was injured and sent to hospital. The employees condition is not critical. According to normal procedure the local Police started their investigation after the accident.

October 29, 2015, Svatove (Ukraine)

Huge blasts have rocked Svatove in eastern Ukraine after an ammunition depot exploded and a series of fireballs erupted into the night sky. Svatove is a government-held part of the Luhansk region, about 60 miles north of the frontline separating Ukrainian troops from pro-Russian rebels. The military complex was reportedly storing more than three tons of ammunition. Due to the intensity of the fire and exploding shells the emergency services were not able to bring it under control. The Ukrainian security service has been investigating the incident as a possible terrorist act. It is as yet unclear what sparked the massive fire.

The Small Arms Survey reports 4 persons killed and 2 injured, more than the initial numbers that initially appeared in the news. A soldier was trapped under rubble at the destroyed military base. Terrified residents fled into basements for shelter. Downed mobile communications and power outages were reported in the surrounding area following the fire. People reported that ‘’windows were trembling’’, “Everyone was hiding or running away”, and ‘’a house was struck by shell fragments’’.