Missile Problem Just a Fire, Officials Say

From Times Wire Reports

Russian Defense Minister Sergei B. Ivanov denied that there was an explosion at a military base near Moscow, where a fire destroyed several costly rockets.

"No explosion took place," Ivanov said a day after the incident. Nobody was hurt and there was no damage to the environment, he said, adding, "Only the hardware was damaged."

Col. Vyacheslav Sedov said Friday that a short circuit set the engine of an S-300 surface-to-air missile ablaze, and that it took firefighters hours to douse the burning missile fuel. The missile's conventional warhead did not go off, he said.

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