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Hopes Fade For 35 Missing In Russian Arms Depot Blast

The blast at an arms depot outside the city of Ulyanovsk
MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Thirty-five people missing after a series of blasts at an arms depot in Russia are unlikely to be found alive, the governor of the region where the explosions took place was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency.

"In four hours of battling the flames we have not managed to find the 35 people who are missing. The chances are low," Interfax quoted Ulyanovsk Governor Sergei Morozov as saying.

At least one person has died and more than 3,000 people have been evacuated from the area.

A deputy mayor in Ulyanovsk, a city on the banks of the Volga River, said a fire had ripped through stores of conventional munitions at a Defense Ministry arsenal on the outskirts.

"Stores of normal ammunition are on fire, but there is no risk of the fire spreading to the chemical stores," Ulyanovsk Deputy Mayor Aleksandr Bukin was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency.

"Houses nearby the arsenal have had their windows blown in," he said.

A reporter from the Vesti state television channel said the explosions were still erupting.