Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Moscow Military Base Destroyed by Forest Fires

Forest fires plaguing Russia destroyed a naval logistics base outside Moscow, torching aeronautical equipment and vehicles, investigators said Aug. 3.

The fire at the base in Kolomna, southeast of the capital, destroyed the staff headquarters, financial department, 13 warehouses containing aeronautical equipment and 17 storage areas containing vehicles, a statement from the committee investigating the blaze said.

"The base was affected by forest fires on July 29 and the blaze was contained on July 30 without any casualties," according to the statement.

An investigation was underway to establish the extent of the damage and the exact circumstances leading to the blaze, the statement said.

The fire was first reported by tabloid news website Life News, which cited sources saying the base was entirely destroyed with 200 planes torched and losses estimated at 20 billion rubles (about $670 million).

Strategic sites have not been spared from the advance of the fires, which have killed at least 40 people amid an unprecedented heatwave.

Hundreds of emergency workers are being sent to the city of Sarov, the location of Russia's main nuclear research facility, to ensure the top-secret site is not damaged by fires on the city's outskirts.

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