August 16, 2022

BERLIN (Associated Press) – A fire with explosions at a police ammunition depot in a Berlin forest was contained and large parts were put out Friday, but authorities are still waiting to reach the landfill itself.

The fire broke out in the early hours of Thursday morning in the Grunewald Forest on the western edge of the German capital. The site is far from the nearest homes and no one was evacuated, but authorities declared a 1,000-meter (more than half a mile) exclusion zone and a nearby highway and railway remained closed on Friday.

Fire Service spokesman Thomas Kerstin said the wildfires in the area around the ammunition depot had been largely extinguished by Friday morning. Authorities are now hoping to get a closer look at the site itself, aided by armored vehicles and robots, having been unable to do so on Thursday amid fears of continued sporadic bombings.

It is not yet clear what caused the first explosion in the ammunition depot in the early hours of Thursday morning. The Cold War-era site was established in West Berlin in 1950, and 25 metric tons or more of fireworks, World War II ammunition, and other explosive ordnance were stored there before the fire started. Controlled bangs are carried out there twice a year.

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