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15 killed, hundreds injured at Albania blast
GERDEC, March 16 – Fifteen people were killed and 296 injured from a massive explosion at an Albanian army ammunition dump near Tirana. More are feared dead. Some 4,000 people from three villages and other areas surrounding the blast were evacuated. The initial blast at 11.43 local time at the depot at Gerdec village, some 20 kilometers north of the capital, Tirana, set off a series of explosions, and ammunition continued to detonate for several hours. The blast was heard as far away as 190 kilometers far in the Macedonian capital of Skopje. Tirana International Airport briefly suspended flights after being slightly damaged. Houses more than two kilometers away were damaged by the blast. Albanian television stations showed a massive ball of fire shooting up from the site, while shrapnel and shell fragments rained down on homes and vehicles. Rescue efforts were suspended late evening as authorities were unable to get to the site of the main blast to assess how many casualties there were due to the lack of power there.
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