Police president indicates lion’s share of work remains at damaged munitions site
Seven months ago, a deadly explosion rocked a munitions depot in Vrbětice near Zlín, killing two on-site employees and destabilising the entire complex. The police and eventually the Czech Army were called in to secure the area as random uncontrolled blasts continued. This Tuesday, Police President Tomáš Tuhý visited the site and offered an update.
But plenty of work, an estimated 400 additional truckloads, remains. What is more, the site remains dangerous and clean-up can by slowed by poor weather conditions, namely rain. To aid in the clean-up inwards from the perimeter, pyrotechnics experts as well as the local police branch on Tuesday received newly-bought armoured vehicles. Police President Tomáš Tuhý spoke on Czech TV:
“We have equipped pyrotechnics experts with new armoured vehicles to help them in their work… At a time when a part of the munitions complex has been fully cleared, we need for our specialists to be able to move through the area quickly... This is still a very dangerous area, which has been compromised. The complete surroundings will likely take years to clear and right now we are still operating only on the outer perimeter.”
Because of the risk, police investigators will have to wait before they can assess the site of the original blast and a second explosion which followed in November; investigators are pursuing the theory both explosions may have been intentional. Police President Tomáš Tuhý again:
“We are not even in the main area yet and that too will take several months to clean that up. It may take a year before an investigation of the epicentre can begin.”
Meanwhile, the region of Zlín has to date received 118 compensation claims from locals or local legal entities. Although details were not released, local mayors say some of the claims pertained to those working in forestry and agriculture unable to ply their trade after nearby areas were blocked off.