A 12-year-old boy was killed and 16 others suffered burn injuries, 14 of them critically, when fire broke out during bursting of crackers as part of a religious function at a temple in Asureshwar, 40 km from Cuttack, police sources said on Monday.
Devotees had congregated at Raghunath temple for the annual cracker bursting festival, held after Ram Navami, when the mishap took place around last mid-night, they said.
The devotees were bursting crackers when a flicker fell on stocks of crackers at the site, triggering a blast and major fire, they said adding several stalls for selling crackers had been opened for the annual ceremony.
According to local residents, devotees whose wishes are fulfilled visit the temple for the annual festival and take part in cracker bursting.
Seventeen people suffered burns in the incident and were brought to SCB Medical College and Hospital here for treatment, doctors said adding a boy identified as Chandan Mallick (12) of Katikata village died during treatment.
Thirteen people with critical burns were undergoing treatment at the hospital, while three persons were discharged after medical aid, they said.
While six of those undergoing treatment had suffered almost 100 per cent burns, two had sustained 90 per cent burns and one person faced 80 per cent burn injuries, doctors attending the patients said.
The government announced Rs 20,000 each for those with critical burns and decided to bear expenses of their treatment while the district administration ordered a probe into the incident, official sources said.