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4 Marines Killed In Camp Pendleton Explosion Were Cleaning Artillery Range

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An investigation into the explosion that killed four Marines on a live-fire artillery range at Camp Pendleton revealed they were in a detail that had been assigned to clear away unexploded ordnance -- a maintenance chore done regularly in preparation for using the range for training.

There was no live-fire training on the Zulu range where the Marines were performing maintenance when Wednesday's accident occurred, the Los Angeles Times reports. Training on the nearby Whiskey range continued without interruption despite the explosion.

The names of the dead Marines have not been released, pending notification of their families.

"We offer our heartfelt prayers and condolences to the families of the Marines lost today in this tragic accident," Brig. Gen. John W. Bullard, commanding general of Marine Corps Installations West-Camp Pendleton, said in a statement.

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The continuing investigation will explore whether safety precautions were properly followed. The deaths come eight months after a mortar explosion killed seven Marines during an exercise in Nevada.