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Official report: Ammunition explosions in 111 Combat Wing Air Base

A report outlining the findings of a Sworn Administrative Inquiry into a wildfire that spread and caused explosions in an ammunition depot at the 111 Combat Wing in Nea Anchialos was delivered to Defence Minister Nikos Dendias on Friday, by Hellenic National Defence General Staff chief, General Konstantinos Floros.

According to the Hellenic Air Force General Staff, the report said that:
– Due to the wildfire in the wider region, 111 Combat Wing fire engines arrived at the Karamba military base and joined Fire Brigade forces in the firefighting operations.
– The fire was burning fiercely and, and due to the whirling of the flames and the speed of the wind, quickly spread to the ammunition storage area and built up a high thermal load
– The above conditions made it imperative to order the evacuation of the area for the protection of the staff.

Regarding the fire safety measures taken at the camp, the report found the following:
– That a hard-to-access sloping area to the north of the base, from which the fire approached both the open and closed ammunition depots, had not been sufficiently thoroughly cleared of vegetation.
– That the very small fire zones around the depots was not large enough to prevent the intense thermal load due to the fire, which had spread fast via the uncleared section of the base and caused the explosion of bombs in the north area of the storage depots.
– The storage facilities met international standards and exclusively contained General Purpose Bombs, in accordance with the manuals and manufacturers’ specifications.

Any omissions or negligence by Air Force officers recorded in the report will be duly attributed to those responsible.

At Defence Minister Nikos Dendias’ orders, the finding of the Sworn Administrative Inquiry will be used to deal with possible shortcomings in fire safety at Armed Forces installations, where inspections to check that the required measures are being observed in military facilities will continue in the coming days.

Read more on KTG’s reports on ammunition explosions during the wildfire in Nea Anchialos here.

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