Wednesday, June 19 2024

Exclusion zone set up around Greek Air Force Base in Volos after wildfires trigger ammunition blasts

air base fire
 
Authorities are maintaining an exclusion zone around an air force base in central Greece where wildfires have triggered powerful explosions at an ammunition depot. Today, Defense Minister Nikos Dendias requested an urgent sworn investigation from the Chief of the Hellenic National Defense General Staff concerning the incident.
 
 
HDN Newsroom
 
The blasts late Thursday at the 111th Combat Wing base facilities – among the largest in the country – shattered windows in nearby towns and prompted an evacuation of more than 2,000 people, while fighter jets nearby were moved to another base.
 
A civilian traffic ban and evacuation order remained in effect in a 3-kilometer (2-mile) radius of the blast site.
 
Fueled by successive heat waves and strong gusts of wind, wildfires have raged around Greece and other Mediterranean countries over the past two weeks, scorching dozens of square kilometers of land outside Athens, on the island of Rhodes and elsewhere.
 
The ammunition depot blasts were broadcast live on local television reports, near the central city of Volos, one showing a ground-shaking fireball emerging from a mountainous area.
 
After the evacuations were ordered, residents were rushed onto private boats mobilized by the coast guard and taken to a conference center in Volos, some 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) from the weapons depot.
 
A drop in temperatures and calmer winds assisted firefighters early Friday, and all major fires were contained at midday, Fire Service officials said. 
 
One day after an unchecked wildfire in central Greece triggered massive explosions at an Air Force ammunition depot, leading to the evacuation of several F-16 fighter jets from the air base where the depot is located, Defense Minister Nikos Dendias requested an urgent sworn investigation from the Chief of the Hellenic National Defense General Staff concerning the incident.
 
“If there are any responsibilities, they will be fully attributed,” Dendias said. He further mentioned that there were no safety issues for the military personnel.
 
“I have requested a comprehensive reassessment of fire safety plans for all camps and the three branches of the Armed Forces. I want to assure you that the safety of personnel, facilities, and equipment has consistently been a top priority. It remains an utmost priority for the current government and for everyone,” he said.
 
With information by the AP