RENO, Nev. - At least seven U.S. Marines were killed and eight wounded when a mortar exploded during a live-fire training exercise late Monday at an Army munitions depot in the Nevada desert, military officials told NBC News.

A 60-millimeter mortar exploded in a tube at Hawthorne Army Depot as Marines were preparing to fire it, the officials said.

NBC affiliate KRNV in Reno reported that an explosion rocked the facility, just east of the California line, just before 10 p.m.

The injured were taken to two hospitals. Stacy Kendall, a spokeswoman for Renown Regional Medical Center, said that it was treating eight people wounded in the blast, three in serious condition and five in fair condition. She said that the injuries included traumas and fractures.

The depot is a 147,000-acre storage facility for ammunition and other equipment being taken out of service and a training facility for Special Operations forces preparing to deploy to the Middle East.

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