Seven dead at a fireworks unit in TN’s Mannargudi
According to T Anand, Thiruvarur district collector, the incident happened around 9.20 am, just as the workers began their day.Updated: Mar 27, 2019, 18:10 IST
At least seven workers in a licenced private fireworks unit lost their lives on Wednesday at Mannargudi in Thiruvarur district as country-made crackers stored inside caught fire.
According to T Anand, Thiruvarur district collector, the incident happened around 9.20 am, just as the workers began their day.
“When the incident occurred inside the unit, around 50 workers, including 18 women, were involved in the packing, shifting, filling ingredients for the firecrackers,” the district collector told HT.
The deceased have been identified as Suresh, Babu, Singaravelu, Mohan, Arivu, Veerayyan while the seventh body is yet to be identified as it has been charred beyond recognition. Nearly a dozen others are said to be in critical condition and are being treated at the Mannargudi General Hospital. Some of them have lost limbs because of the explosion.
Police officers who inspected the spot said there was nearly one tonne of country-made crackers kept inside the unit. While it wasn’t clear what started the explosion, police suspect that somebody smoking could have accidentally trigerred the tragic incident.
“After Deepavali and Thirukarthigai Deepam festivals, Panguni Uthiram and Chithirai Temple festivals are the hot-season for selling crackers. While Deepavali and Thirukarthigai festival celebrators opt for Sivakasi firecrackers, for the Temple Festivals it is the cheaper country-made firecrackers that are used. So, the owner had got plenty of orders from Thiruvarur, Nagapattinam and Thanjavur districts’ temple festivals. Since the workers were very busy in making the crackers, they failed to notice the fire-break out,” said a senior police officer.
The officer further said, “Though the workers rushed to exit the factory, the crackers went off within seconds.”
The crackers continued to burst for more than an hour before the authorities could bring it under control.
“Because of the intensity of explosions we struggled to enter the factory. The walls of the fireworks unit completely collapsed. Walls of nearby residential areas also felt the vibrations,” said M Prabhakaran, a resident of Mannai Nagar where the unit is located, told HT.
“It is a licenced fireworks unit. We have launched a probe over this incident. The reason for the accident will be found soon,” said District Collector T Anand.