At least nine people were killed and dozens injured on Thursday after a massive fire engulfed a firecracker factory and godown in Tamil Nadu’s Sivakasi town days ahead of Diwali.
According to sources, the incident occurred around 1pm and the fire could have been sparked off from under a truck that was being unloaded near the shop. The truck that was laden with firecrackers caught fire that eventually spread to the shop.
Several people were trapped inside the shop as fire and fumes released by the bursting crackers spread inside.
Three fire tenders were rushed to the spot and the fire was brought under control after an hour. Rescue efforts took time as the getting inside the shop was difficult.
Over 25 people were rushed to a hospital, of whom nine died due to asphyxiation, Virudhunagar district collector A Sivagnanam told reporters.
“But this is a preliminary observation by the doctors at the government hospital here,” the collector said, adding that the exact cause of the accident can be found only after a detailed probe into the incident.
The death toll could rise as the condition of few of the injured was said to be critical.
Initial investigations revealed that the godown did not follow the fire safety norms stipulated by the government.
Sivakasi, the country’s biggest firecracker manufacturing centre, witnesses fire accidents every year as there are several units that illegally manufacture firecrackers without following the stipulated safety norms.
Shops storing and selling firecrackers need special permissions and have to follow strict guidelines issued by the government from time to time.