The Washington Post

Fire triggered by blasts rages in Berlin forest

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A large fire triggered by explosions at an ammunition dump raged Thursday in a major Berlin urban forest on one of the German capital’s hottest days this year.

A huge cloud of gray smoke hung over the city’s western districts, and residents were asked to keep windows and doors shut. A major highway was closed and train service was interrupte­d, but authoritie­s said no homes or inhabitant­s faced direct threat.

More than 100 firefighte­rs, dozens of troops and police officers battled the blaze in the Grunewald forest. Army tanks cut corridors into the forest to contain the blaze and allow firefighte­rs to get closer to the flames. The army also sent in a remote-controlled robot with four cameras and a grappler that can be used to detect and eliminate ordnance.

Massive explosions were heard in the morning from the site where ammunition from World War II, fireworks and explosive ordnance is stored and controlled detonation­s of old munitions are carried out.

A Berlin fire department official said it was not clear what triggered the first explosions at the site on Thursday. The ammunition dump belongs to city police.

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