Army depot blast kills 9, injures nearly 300

Eight people are in serious condition
March 16, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Authorities in Albania say at least nine people are dead after a massive explosion at army ammunition dump near the capital. Albanian officials report nearly 300 people were injured, including many children. About 50 people have been hospitalized, eight in serious condition.

Albanian troops and police have closed off the smoldering army depot, as the search continues for nine missing workers.

The country's prime minister says the blast destroyed more than 300 houses in a nearby village. Another 2,000 homes and businesses were damaged.

He says the accidental explosions began yesterday during a project to destroy excess ammunition stockpiled during Albania's Communist past. The prime minister calls the size of that stockpile "colossal." He says it's one of Albania's "gravest" threats.