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3 May, 2024 15:34

Explosions rock German weapons plant (VIDEO)

Diehl produces the IRIS-T air defense system that Berlin has supplied to Kiev
Explosions rock German weapons plant (VIDEO)

A blaze has engulfed a plant in Berlin belonging to German arms manufacturer Diehl, the local fire department has reported. The company produces the IRIS-T air defense system, several units of which the German government has supplied to Ukraine since late 2022.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter) on Friday, the Berlin Fire Department reported that a “factory building is burning in which chemicals are also stored,” and that 190 personnel had been deployed at the scene.

“Air quality tests are being continuously conducted” in the area, the message adds.

Several large detonations have been observed inside the facility since the start of the blaze, which has been raging for more than five hours. A fire department representative told the press that emergency personnel have not yet been able to bring the situation under control and that the operation is expected to last well into the night.

Berliner Zeitung reported that the industrial facility had a stockpile of sulfuric acid and copper cyanide, among other materials.

According to the newspaper, citing emergency service officials, elevated pollution levels have so far been detected only in the immediate vicinity of the burning building.

In a subsequent post on X, the fire department advised local residents to shut their windows and doors and switch off air conditioning.

Berliner Zeitung also quoted a spokesperson for the fire department as saying the blaze had engulfed an area of some 2,000 square meters. Due to the hazardous chemicals inside the plant, firefighters cannot enter the premises and are extinguishing the flames from the outside.

Officials have so far provided on details regarding the cause of the fire.

Diehl’s website states that the company tested the first prototype of the IRIS-T air defense system back in 1996, with the German military and armies of several other nations later adopting it.