Explosion and fire at US gun factory kills two

State Fire Marshal Bill Degnan confirmed the deaths at the MDM Muzzleloader building in Colebrook. He said the fire was burning more than four hours after the explosion was reported on Friday. "We're just getting into the investigation and trying to determine the details," he said.

The blasts started just after 1 pm (1700 GMT). Firefighters were unable to get close enough to fight the blaze initially because ammunition was still going off more than two hours after the initial blast, said Mia West, Colebrook's public information officer. About 40 nearby homes were evacuated, and some residents reported hearing the explosion up to 2.4 kms away, West said.

A shelter was being set up at the town offices. "We did hear two distinct bangs," said Karen Ladd, editor and publisher of The News and Sentinel newspaper in Colebrook. She thought something had hit the roof of her building. "It knocked a picture off of my wall, right next to my desk. I will admit I panicked and I said, 'Get out!'" Several communities in New Hampshire and Vermont sent fire crews.

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