Chennai: In a tragic incident in Tamil Nadu, as many as 37 people were killed and over 60 got injured in a massive fire at a cracker factory in Sivakasi. Around 300 people were also believed to be trapped inside the factory when the fire broke out.
A total of 19 bodies were brought to the Sivakasi government hospital while 18 were taken to the Saatur government hospital. Around 45 people who got injured were also rushed to the Sivakasi government hospital while those critically injured were taken to the Rajaji government hospital in Madurai, which is 75 km away from the town.
The Tamil Nadu government announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each for the families of the deceased. The government also announced that the critically injured would get Rs 25,000 each while those with minor injuries would be given Rs 10,000 each.
According to Kathiresan, the medical officer of the government hospital, some of those who got injured in the accident are suffering from severe head injuries, fractures and burn injuries.
He further said that the building where the accident occurred also collapsed due to the explosion, adding that all the victims were over the age of 20.
The factory had 40 rooms with several of them acting as godowns for firecrackers and chemicals. All the rooms caught fire, but since all the rooms were on ground floor so most of the workers managed to escape.
"These are times ahead of Deepavali. So activities go on at breakneck speed in the cracker units," Virudhunagar District Superintendent of Police Najmul Hoda said.
The fire broke out when fancy cracker items were being made at the factory. Ten fire tenders were sent to douse the fire, and the blaze was brought under control after more than two and a half hours.
Initially the police and fire brigade personnel did not enter the building due to heavy smoke. They also feared that the large amount of firecrackers kept inside the factory could again catch fire.
Fire officials said due to the variety of chemicals used in pyrotechnics crackers, there was thick and suffocating smoke, which made the task difficult for fire fighters.
The Tamil Nadu government sent six state ministers along with principal secretary to the site.
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