The New York Times
March 24, 2003

Munitions Blast Injures 30 in Ecuador

An explosion ripped through an Ecuadorean naval base today, shooting off munitions into nearby coastal slums and injuring at least 30 people,
officials said.

The blast tore through a naval base in the port city Guayaquil on Ecuador's Pacific coast at 1:45 a.m., a military official said. He said the cause of
the explosion was not immediately clear.

A navy spokesman said at least 30 people were injured in the blast, which showered bullets and caused some fires in nearby slums. Twelve people
suffered serious injuries, including first- and second-degree burns.

''The fire is now under control,'' a member of Guayaquil's fire department said. ''It was a very large fire, we felt four strong explosions. In many
homes the windows shattered.''

This is the second explosion at a military base in Ecuador in six months. Last November, an army munitions store exploded into a huge mushroom
cloud, killing eight people and destroying buildings in the highland city of Riobamba.