At least 11 workers of a fireworks factory were killed and 36 injured in an explosion at the unit in Tamil Nadu’s Virudhunagar district on Friday, reported ANI. The blast reportedly occurred around 1.30 pm.
Nine of the eleven bodies were recovered from the spot, while two died at the Sattur Government Hospital, according to The New Indian Express. The police said that it was difficult to identify the bodies since they were completely charred.
Ten firefighters have been sent to the spot to douse the fire in the factory at the Acchankulam village, reported PTI. “Friction during mixing of chemicals appears to have caused the explosion,” an official from the local fire department told NDTV.
A rescue mission is under way and District Collector R Kannan was at the spot to oversee the operation. The District Revenue Officer said the factory’s licence will be suspended, reported The Indian Express.
Fire officers said that 10 rooms of the factory have been destroyed in the explosion. “Around 50 labourers had been working in the unit when the accident took place,” said District Fire Officer Ganesan.
Those severely injured have been shifted to the Government Rajaji Hospital in Madurai for further treatment. Meanwhile, the Elaayirampannai Police have registered a case and preliminary investigations are underway.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami has announced an compensation of Rs 3 lakh each to the kin of the deceased and Rs 1 lakh each for those severely injured.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief at the incident and announced Rs 2 lakh ex-gratia each to the family of those killed in the fire, his office said. Modi also announced Rs 50,000 for those injured.
“Fire at a firecracker factory in Virudhunagar, Tamil Nadu is saddening,” the prime minister’s office said. “In this hour of grief, my thoughts are with the bereaved families. I hope those injured recover soon. Authorities are working on the ground to assist those affected.”
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi offered his condolences. “Heartfelt condolences to the victims of the firecracker factory fire in Virudhunagar, Tamil Nadu,” he tweeted. “It’s heart wrenching to think of those still trapped inside. I appeal to the state government to provide immediate rescue, support and relief.”