Fire Breaks Out in Pennsylvania Ammo Plant, Foreign Media Takes Note

by Vern Evans
A steel worker manufactures 155 mm M795 artillery projectiles at the Scranton Army Ammunition Plant in Scranton, Pa., in this AP file photo. A small fire broke out in the plant Monday.

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A fire erupted at the Scranton Army Ammunition Plant in Pennsylvania, which produces key military supplies, including heavy artillery ammunition. The incident occurred shortly before 3 p.m. local time on Monday, April 15, and resulted in the emission of black smoke from the facility. Local emergency services quickly responded to what was described as a “structure fire.”

The Scranton plant, managed by General Dynamics-Ordnance and Tactical Systems (GD-OTS) under the U.S. Army’s Joint Munitions Command, confirmed the fire was small and had been extinguished with no injuries reported. The facility is currently assessing the damage to understand the potential consequences for its operations. The cause of the fire remains unknown.

Significantly, the plant is a crucial part of the U.S. military infrastructure, producing 155mm and 105mm artillery projectiles, 120mm mortar rounds, 203mm naval shells and various smoke, illumination and incendiary rounds. Since 2022, the Scranton facility has been increasing its production capabilities to meet both U.S. demands and international military assistance needs, particularly for Ukraine in its conflict with Russia. In March 2024, the U.S. committed a $300 million aid package to Ukraine, emphasizing air defense, artillery and anti-tank weapons.

Interestingly, the fire at the ammunition plant garnered more attention from foreign media, particularly in regions directly impacted by the output of such facilities. Both Iran and Ukraine reported extensively on the incident. Mehr News Agency from Tehran, an Iranian state-run news outlet, and Militarnyi from Ukraine provided detailed coverage, reflecting a heightened international interest compared to U.S. media. This increased coverage can be attributed to the direct relevance of the plant’s production to ongoing conflicts, especially the Russian-Ukrainian war.

Scranton, a northeastern Pennsylvania community of about 75,000 residents and the birthplace of U.S. President Joe Biden, is bracing for his scheduled visit on Tuesday following the fire incident.

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