At least 20 people including two Army officers were killed and several injured after a fire broke out at the Central Ammunition Depot in Pulgaon in the Wardha district of Maharashtra.
Seventeen Defence Security Corp (DSC) jawans were injured in the blaze, some of them critically, an Army officer said.
The area has been cordoned off. Sources said residents of nearby villages have been evacuated and Army helicopters pressed into service to help in the evacuation of the injured security personnel.
The central ammunition depot at Pulgaon is one India's biggest ammunition depots, located around 110 km from Nagpur. It recently got an award for using solar energy for disposing of expired ammunition.
A Special Investigation Team has been constituted to probe into the incident after Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar visited site of accident. The Army chief General Dalbir Singh rushed to the site earlier.
The fire spread to number of sheds that house ammunition, bombs and other explosive items.
Wardha Collector Shailesh Naval told The Indian Express, ''Though a small fire is still on, there is apparently no further damage expected. Five villages around CAD, placed in the close vicinity, were evacuated immediately but as soon as the danger subsided, the villagers were restored back to their respective places.''