Huge blast at Serbia munitions factory forces evacuation

A series of explosions early on Friday rocked a military factory in central Serbia, forcing evacuation of workers and nearby residents and causing panic, but no injuries.

The blasts at an ammunition depot of the Sloboda factory in Cacak, about 140 kilometers south of Belgrade, set off a series of detonations and a huge fire that lit the night sky above the town.

Police sealed off the area, blocked roads into the town and moved people living near the factory from their homes. Workers who were at the factory hid in the basement when the explosions started.

It was not immediately clear what caused the incident. Serbian media reported that sporadic detonations could still be heard in the morning, hours after they started around 1.30 a.m.

“We were lucky the explosion didn’t take place in the production halls,” Cacak Mayor Milun Todorovic told state RTS television.

Officials say firefighters will be able to go into the factory 24 hours after the last detonation to assess the situation.

Sloboda is the biggest munitions factory in Serbia. It was targeted during the NATO bombing in Serbia in 1999 over Kosovo.