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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

St. Pete Arms Dump Fire Sparks Blasts

NOVAYA, Northwest Russia -- An arms dump at an army base on the edge of St. Petersburg erupted in flame Friday, unleashing hours of continuous blasts that spewed large chunks of flaming shrapnel.

City police spokesman Alexander Rostovtsov said nobody was hurt, although a colonel at the military base who did not give his name had said there were unspecified casualties among soldiers there.

Several other officers from the base later confirmed nobody had been hurt.

Firefighters were unable to approach to extinguish the blaze. Hours after the blast, explosions of artillery shells could still be heard echoing for kilometers around, thundering every few minutes. The explosions grew rarer as dusk began to fall.

"At about five o'clock we heard a wave of explosions. There were dozens of blasts - extremely powerful blasts," said construction worker Sergei Isayev, who was 3 kilometers away at the time.

The base is located in fields at the northeast edge of the city of 5 million people. Two nearby villages were not being evacuated.

Police had shut the perimeter and were preventing onlookers from approaching.