Seven persons were killed and six seriously injured when a firecracker factory operating out of a house in Rau town, near Indore, was gutted on Thursday morning.
Eyewitnesses said a blast was heard from within the factory, owned by Congress corporator Farida Farooqi, at about 11.45am. Soon, firecrackers started shooting in all directions. Within minutes, four more houses adjoining the factory caught fire.
The factory, along with the four houses, was completely burnt down. All trapped inside were brought out and seven of them died due to severe burns.
It took about 30 minutes for the fire tenders to reach the spot and one from the Mhow Cantonment Board was the first to arrive. The Pithampur fire brigade and Indore police fire brigade followed. A large number of people in the locality took part in dousing the fire.
Additional district magistrate Rakesh Singh told Hindustan Times a scrutiny of licences of the firecracker manufacturers was on.
He confirmed the factory belonged to Farooqi and the licence was issued in the name of her brother-in-law Zahid 13 years ago.
There is a provision of renewal of licence every year before Diwali but in this case the procedure is not being followed for the past two years.