Fireworks Factory in India Explodes, Killing 16 People

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Chennai, – At least 16 people died in a fire at a fireworks factory in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu on Friday (12/2).

As reported by Reuters, Raja Narayanan, a regional police official, said an investigation was underway into the cause of the fire at a factory in Achankulam village in Virudhunagar district.

“While most of the victims died from burns at the scene, others died in hospital,” local police officer Raj Narayanan said by telephone.

Virudhunagar district is the fireworks capital of India, and hundreds of thousands of people in the region depend on the fireworks industry for a living. Accidents happen frequently.

“There was a series of explosions followed by flames that engulfed the unit. Some of the cracker-making warehouses were completely destroyed, ” said Narayanan.

The death toll could increase as some of the injured were said to be in critical condition.

“The explosions continued for a long time making it difficult for firefighters and rescue workers to enter the unit,” he said, adding that firefighters had finally managed to control the blaze.

Footage on domestic channels shows thick black smoke rising from the factory as crowds of villagers gather at the crash site.

“The friction when mixing the chemicals appears to have caused the explosion,” an officer from the local fire department told broadcaster NDTV.

At least 11 people died in two separate incidents in the region just before the national Covid-19 lockdown was imposed in March. Fires at a firecracker factory in 2009 and 2012 killed nearly 40 people each.



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