“While attempting to leave the area of the fire, a truck carrying people was at the epicenter of an unexpected explosion,” Igor Konashenkov, a Defense Ministry spokesman, said today in an e-mailed statement. The 10 confirmed dead were found in the truck, he said.
Local authorities reported about 20 explosions near the village of Bolshaya Tura in the Zabaikalye region, state-run news service RIA Novosti reported. More than 20 other people were injured, some seriously, and about 2,000 people were evacuated, RIA said.
President Vladimir Putin ordered the government last June to step up efforts to secure ammunition warehouses and improve demolition procedures after a series of fatal accidents. Earlier this year, a tank exploded because of a suspected error in handling munitions in the Khabarovsk region, killing three. There were at least five accidents in 2013, RIA reported.
The fire near Bolshaya Tura was extinguished, Konashenkov said. A preliminary investigation found that the fire spread from a nearby forest to the depot.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu issued an order to provide assistance to the families of the deceased and others harmed by the explosions, according to the ministry.